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Why Watching TV Sports Increases Heart Attacks

For those who've had an attack already, stressful games raise blood pressure, study finds

MONDAY, Nov. 16, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Reduced blood flow to the heart may help explain why men who've had a heart attack are at increased risk for another while watching exciting sporting events, Chinese researchers report.

The study included 38 male heart attack survivors who watched live broadcasts of Olympic Games competitions or entertainment television programs. While the men watched the shows, their coronary artery blood flow to the heart was assessed by ST-segment analysis using continuous 12-lead electrocardiography, blood pressure monitoring and heart rate measurement.

Overall, blood flow to the heart was generally stable. But when the men watched an exciting sporting event, blood pressure increased, heart rate variability decreased, and platelet aggregation (the building blocks of blood clots) increased. All these factors increase the risk of heart attack, the study authors noted.

The study was to be presented Monday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about heart attack.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Nov. 16, 2009
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