More Heart Attacks In Younger Men Following Canadian Hockey Games Interview with:
“Wings Hawks Game 2-11” by Michael Kumm is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Hung Q. Ly, M.D., S.M., FRCPC

President, Canadian Association of Interventional Cardiology
Program Director, Adult Cardiology Postgraduate Training Program
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
Interventional Cardiology Division,
Dept. of Medicine, Montreal Heart Institute, Montréal, Québec, Canada What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior scientific reports have discussed the association between major sporting events and cardiovascular events, irrespective of the sport.

Ours is the first to report an increase in hospital admission rates for heart attacks in men younger than 55yo in the day following a hockey game. What should readers take away from your report?

Response:  Emotional stress and lifestyle habits/behavioural patterns surrounding the spectatorship of hockey (i.e. drinking, unhealthy eating patterns, etc.) might make some Hockey (sports) fans more susceptible to heart attacks. We report a statistically significant increase in the incidence of heart attacks in young men watching the sport. This was an association that we manage to document but not an actual causal relationship. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response:  (1) Ascertain causality: Document that the “watching/attending a hockey game” was indeed an activity that the patient presenting with a heart attack did indeed do; (2) randomize sports fan to lifestyle changes and/or stress management strategies to explore if there is a decrease in cardiovascular events around the time of a sporting event. Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response:  (1) I am a hardcore, diehard (no pun intended) Montreal Canadiens fan, which motivated me to perform this analysis; (2) We accounted for the effect of harsh winter conditions as a potential confounder of the increase in hospital rate admission for heart attacks; (3) we were quite surprised that victory, instead of defeat, lead to an increase in events; (4)  I have to conflict of interest to declare.


Caroline E. Gebhard, Catherine Gebhard, Foued Maafi, Marie-Jeanne Bertrand, Barbara E. Stähli, Karin Wildi, Zurine Galvan, Aurel Toma, Zheng W. Zhang, David Smith, Hung Q. Ly. Hockey Games and the Incidence of ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.cjca.2017.12.028

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