Watching football can be dangerous for men with heart disease
Doctors find that there was a sharp increase of heart complaints during the 2006 World Cup.
Berlin -- A study of hospital admissions for heart complaints in the Munich area during the 2006 World Cup in Germany has revealed a sharp increase in incidents among men with a history of heart disease.
Doctors at the Ludwig Maximilian University in the Bavarian capital found that the number of patients admitted to hospital with heart rhythm problems or with heart attacks was almost three times up on the same period in 2003 or 2005.
The study, published in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, found that it was not the World Cup as a whole, but rather the games played by hosts Germany that triggered the heart complaints.
"We have evaluated the statistics of 25 emergency rooms in the greater Munich area. In total, 4,279 fans with acute heart problems had to be treated on the days the German team played," the head of the study team, Ute Wilbert-Lampen, said.
The number was between two and three times the usual number, she said.
Those who had a history of heart complaints were particularly at risk, with their risk being twice as high as that of other football fans.
"Our study provides clear evidence for the first time that emotional stress really can cause heart attacks," she added.
On days on which the German team was not playing, the number of heart-related admissions was 20 on average. During Germany's opening game against Costa Rica, this rose to more than 40.
The exciting game against Poland in the group stage, which took Germany through to the next round, brought the number to 50. And the less crucial subsequent match against Ecuador saw a decline to 30.
The knock-out stages of the month-long competition saw a rise, with 70 admissions at the quarter-final thriller against Argentina.
The game against Portugal to decide the third and fourth spots -- a contest without real interest -- brought the figure down to the average of 20.
DPA with Expatica