March 18, 2023

UAE experts warn of increased risk of heart attack while viewing stressful sports matches

ABU DHABI-Physicians at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), have warned of the increased risk of heart attack while viewing stressful sports matches, following the treatment of a cardiac patient during the World Cup final on 13 July.

The patient, a 42 year old male, is currently recovering and in a stable condition.

Dr Abdulmajeed Al Zubaidi
Dr Abdulmajeed Al Zubaidi

“Viewing a stressful sports match, like the world cup final, could trigger an acute coronary syndrome – like a heart attack – especially in patients who are already at higher risk, such as those with hypertension and diabetes,” said Dr. Abdulmajeed Al Zubaidi, the cardiologist who was on call the evening of the World Cup, and is Chief Medical Officer at SKMC.

“While there are certainly many other factors that could attribute to heart attacks, such as lack of sleep, or forgetting to take medication, it’s important that the public are aware of their cardiovascular risk and take active steps to reduce or manage it,” Dr. Al Zubaidi said.

A 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, undertaken during the World Cup in Germany in 2006, remarked a stressful football match more than doubles the risk of an acute cardiovascular event, and that preventive measures are urgently needed, particularly in men with known coronary heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is also a major complication of diabetes, and the leading cause of early death among sufferers of diabetes – according to the American Diabetes Association about 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease and stroke.

Figures from the International Diabetes Federation show that almost 20 percent of the local population are affected by diabetes, with no signs that this number decreasing.

SKMC, managed by Cleveland Clinic, is part of the SEHA HealthSystem and owned and operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company PJSC (SEHA), which is responsible for the curative activities of all the public hospitals and clinics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

SKMC’s improved process of transferring cardiac patients from the Emergency Department to the catheterisation (cath) lab has led to it becoming one of institutions around the world achieving quality standard of care and to receive accreditation as a Cycle IV Chest Pain Centre for its ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

During 2013 SEHA initiated a project through its Heart & Vascular Service Line to roll out Primary PCI service – life saving treatment following a heart attack – to other SEHA institutions. There are now four cath labs providing Primary PCI within the SEHA system.

A new partnership with Ambulance Services is being explored which will mean that any patients with a heart attack is driven straight to the nearest SEHA facility with a cath lab, ensuring patients get this life saving treatment within the appropriate timescales.

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