2022 - Year in Review

Research reveals poor understanding of heart attack signs during exercise

A new study has directed the spotlight to the risk of a cardiac event for those aged over 35 playing football, while also highlighting a concerning lack of knowledge around recognising the early signs of a heart attack. Conducted by researchers from RNSH, the University of Sydney and the Kolling Institute, the study surveyed more than 150 masters age amateur soccer players involved in competitive and social games. The research is believed to be the first of its kind to assess cardiac knowledge and beliefs in this higher-risk amateur football group.

Senior author Professor Geoffrey Tofler, RNSH

on symptoms and if a cardiac arrest occurs, promptly begin CPR and have a readily accessible defibrillator.” Other key findings include: • Almost half of those surveyed had little or no confidence that they would recognise the signs of a heart attack. • In response to a hypothetical episode of chest pain while playing, less than half would leave the field immediately, while 49 per cent would stay on the field for 5-10 minutes to see if the pain eased, and others would play on. Co-author Associate Professor Tom Buckley said encouragingly, the participants agreed that CPR training was important and that defibrillators should be staples at football fields.

cardiologist and University of Sydney academic, said the study identified that one in five participants had one or more possible cardiac symptoms during a game in the prior year, but only a quarter of them sought medical attention. “Our research indicates a concerning trend and we hope that by raising awareness of heart health, we will be able to reduce the risk of a cardiac event such as a heart attack and sudden death,” he said. “We know that strenuous exercise can cause a temporary increase in cardiac risk, but being able to recognise the warning signs of an impending cardiac event will help lower those risks. “It’s important to act quickly

Masters soccer players in action.


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