How to Prevent Deaths and Cardiovascular Problems During Marathons | IDOVEN

This article gathers several very interesting aspects for runners. In this article, we analyze the causes of heart problems and sudden deaths occurring in all issues of the Paris marathon between 2006 and 2012.

 The most important conclusions are:

  • Deadly or serious cardiac events in the marathons are fortunately low: 3.3/100,000 runners. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that exercising is healthy, and regular training reduces cardiovascular risk (outside of the scope of marathons, remember that in Spain, a cardiac arrest occurs every 20 minutes).
  • There is a greater risk of deadly heart-related problems at the end of the race (in both marathons and half marathons), even though they can occur at any time throughout the race.
  • Sometimes runners present alarming symptoms during previous training to which we should pay attention, including chest pain, shortness of breath, sudden palpitations, or dizziness.
  • The heart attack is the main cause of heart problems detected in runners older than 35, with zero or one cardiovascular risk factor (history of obesity, cholesterol, or smoking).
  • In athletes under 35 years of age, the cardiomyopathies are responsible for sudden deaths, with no previous signs or symptoms. 

In IDOVEN, we seek to detect these heart problems early on to prevent heart disease, stroke, and sudden death.

The study also demonstrates:

  • The importance of self-care and cardiovascular examinations in athletes and people of any age before strenuous exercises and long-distance races.
  • A suitable cardiopulmonary resuscitation, rapid interventions of emergency systems, and rapid access to a defibrillator are associated with increased survival of these athletes (a fact that is well known to the organizers of these competitions).

This review was commissioned by the Spanish Society of Cardiology to publish in the Blog "Cardiología hoy". Our sports cardiologist and CEO of IDOVEN, Dr. Manuel Marina Breysse, reviewed the RACE Paris registry.

Dr. Marina is a member of the Sports Cardiology Group of the Spanish Society of Cardiology, a doctor of the Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport (AEPSAD), and a researcher at the National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC); where he has been studying the cardiac arrhythmias responsible for sudden death in both athletes and patients from different national hospitals. 

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