It’s not unusual for kids to get so wrapped up in video games that they lose track of time. But for some children with certain heart conditions, extended gaming sessions could be life-threatening.
According to a new case report, a 15-year-old boy with a history of heart rhythm problems began experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath while playing Xbox games for several hours at a time. An electrocardiogram (EKG) revealed that the boy’s heart rate was dangerously high, and he was diagnosed with a condition called supraventricular tachycardia (SVT).
SVT is a heart rhythm disorder that occurs when the heart beats too fast. In some cases, it can be triggered by physical activity, but it can also be brought on by emotional stress or excitement.
This particular boy had a type of SVT called atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia (AVNRT), which is the most common type of SVT in children. AVNRT occurs when electrical impulses accidentally start moving in a circle in the heart. This causes the heart to beat very fast, and it can lead to serious complications like stroke or even sudden cardiac death.
The good news is that SVT can be treated with medication or surgery. In this boy’s case, he was successfully treated with a type of surgery called ablation.
Ablation is a minimally-invasive procedure that uses heat or cold to destroy the abnormal tissue in the heart that’s causing the problem. After the surgery, the boy’s heart returned to its normal rhythm and he was able to go back to playing video games without any problems.
While this case is certainly frightening, it’s important to remember that it’s very rare. The vast majority of children who play video games will never experience anything like this.
However, if your child has a heart condition, it’s important to talk to their doctor about the risks of extended gaming sessions. In some cases, it might be best to limit the amount of time your child plays or to choose a different activity altogether.
According to a new study, electronic gaming can trigger potentially lethal heart rhythm problems in susceptible children. The findings, published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatric Cardiology, suggest that parents and physicians should be vigilant for this potential health hazard.
The study authors analyzed data from 14 previously published reports involving young people who developed life-threatening heart rhythm problems after playing video games. The reports included a total of 382 cases, the majority of which occurred in China. The median age of the gamers was 15 years old.
The most common heart rhythm problem was ventricular tachycardia, which can lead to ventricular fibrillation and sudden cardiac death. In fact, 10 of the 14 reports documented sudden cardiac death in young gamers.
Interestingly, most of the cases occurred in healthy young people with no known heart problems. This suggests that electronic gaming can trigger previously unknown heart rhythm problems in susceptible individuals.
The study authors caution that these findings should not dissuade young people from playing video games. However, they do underscore the importance of monitoring for potential cardiovascular side effects, especially in those with known heart conditions.