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Gaming can kill children, study shows

Gaming ‘could KILL for kids’: Action-packed missions could trigger life-threatening arrhythmias in kids with undiagnosed heart problems, study suggests

  • The researchers were from The Heart Center for Children, Sydney, Australia
  • They studied 22 children who lost consciousness while playing video games
  • Experts said adrenaline rushes from the excitement of playing can be deadly

They are popular because they get the adrenaline flowing, while they don’t pose a war risk.

But playing action-packed games like Call of Duty could be deadly for kids with heart conditions, scientists warn.

Electronic gaming can cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias in children with no history of health problems, according to a historical study.

Experts said adrenaline rushes from the excitement of playing can be deadly for some young people with often undiagnosed heart problems.

Electronic gaming can cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias in children with no history of health problems, historical study finds

Researchers from The Heart Center for Children, Sydney, Australia, studied the cases of 22 children who suddenly lost consciousness while playing video games.

They found that multiplayer war gaming was the most common trigger, resulting in an “emotionally charged” state in players.

Some children died after cardiac arrest in which several arrhythmias were later diagnosed, leaving the surviving children at lasting risk if they continued to play.

Claire Lawley, of The Heart Center for Children, who led the study, urged parents to watch for warning signs, such as blackouts while gaming.

She said: ‘Video games can pose a serious risk for some children with arrhythmic conditions; they can be fatal in patients with predisposing but often unrecognized arrhythmic conditions.

“Children who suddenly lose consciousness during electronic gaming should be evaluated by a heart specialist, as this can be the first sign of a serious heart problem.”

Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), a rare inherited cardiac arrhythmia found in young people and children, was one of the most common causes.

Adrenaline from strenuous physical activity and heightened emotions, such as gaming, can lead to blackouts, palpitations, and dizziness.

Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a rare hereditary condition that affects about one in 2,000 people and can cause abnormal heart rhythms, was another.

Researchers found that most children (63 percent) had potentially relevant genetic variants among the patients, with significant implications for their families.

In some cases, the discovery led to multiple family members being diagnosed with a significant familial heart rhythm problem, according to the findings published in the journal Heart Rhythm.

Scientists believe the adrenergic stimulation related to the “emotionally charged electronic gaming environment” was behind the phenomenon.

At the time of the heart events, many of the patients were excited, had just won or lost matches, or were in conflict with companions.

While it’s not common, the authors believe it’s becoming more common as gaming culture grows in popularity.

Christian Turner, who co-wrote the study, said gaming can no longer be considered a “safe activity” for those who bear these risks.

“We already know that some children have heart conditions that can put them at risk when playing competitive sports, but we were shocked to find that some patients had life-threatening blackouts while playing video games,” he said.

“Video gaming was something I previously thought would be an alternative ‘safe activity’.”

“This is a very important discovery. We need to make sure everyone knows how important it is to be checked out if someone has had a blackout under these circumstances.”

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