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Electronic Gaming Can Trigger Cardiac Arrhythmias in Some Children

Electronic games, such as war games, can precipitate lethal cardiac arrhythmias in susceptible children

MONDAY, Oct. 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — In susceptible children, electronic gaming can precipitate lethal cardiac arrhythmias, according to research published online Oct. 10 in Heart Rhythm.

Claire M. Lawley, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, and colleagues described the population at risk, nature of cardiac events, and type of game linked to electronic gaming-associated cardiac arrhythmia in a multisite, international case series and systematic literature review. Twenty-two patients aged 7 to 16 years who were identified as having experienced suspected or proven ventricular arrhythmia during electronic gaming were included.

The researchers found that six of the participants (27 percent) had experienced cardiac arrest and four (18 percent) died suddenly. A proarrhythmic cardiac diagnosis was known before the gaming event in seven individuals (31 percent) and was established afterward in 12 (54 percent). Overall, 10 and four patients had catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and long QT syndrome, respectively, and two, two, and one patients were post-congenital cardiac surgery, had idiopathic ventricular fibrillation, and had coronary ischemia (after Kawasaki disease), respectively. Eight of the 13 patients (62 percent) for whom the electronic game details were known played war games.

“Video games may represent a serious risk to some children with arrhythmic conditions; they might be lethal in patients with predisposing, but often previously unrecognized arrhythmic conditions,” Lawley said in a statement.

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