Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exercise-linked ventricular tachycardia is not a risk to healthy older adults

Date:
November 16, 2009
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Healthy, older adults free of heart disease need not fear that bouts of rapid, irregular heartbeats brought on by vigorous exercise might increase short- or long-term risk of dying or having a heart attack, according to a report by heart experts.

Healthy, older adults free of heart disease need not fear that bouts of rapid, irregular heartbeats brought on by vigorous exercise might increase short- or long-term risk of dying or having a heart attack, according to a report by heart experts at Johns Hopkins and the U.S. National Institute on Aging (NIA).

Researchers say such fears surfaced after previous studies found that episodes of errant heart rhythms, more formally known as non-sustained ventricular tachycardia, more than double the chance of sudden death in people who have already suffered a heart attack.

In a study to be presented Nov. 16 at the American Heart Association's (AHA) annual Scientific Sessions in Orlando, the research team monitored for on average 12 years the medical records of 2,234 initially healthy men and women, ages 21 to 96, and participating in the NIA's Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. In adults with no earlier signs of heart disease, researchers found no adverse effects resulting from brief episodes of exercise-induced ventricular tachycardia.

In the study, each volunteer participant had a least one exercise stress test performed before 2001. The test assesses the heart's pumping ability, requiring participants, whose average age at testing was 52, to walk or jog on a treadmill at increasing speeds and inclines until they felt exhausted, about 10 minutes for most.

Eighty-one (roughly 4 percent, 65 men and 16 women, mostly older participants) experienced short periods of rapid, irregular heartbeats during exercise, typically lasting from three to six heartbeats, and at a rate hovering around 175 beats per minute.

Researchers say overall death rates were higher in the tachycardia group than in the nontachycardia group (at 29 percent and 16 percent, respectively). But when they adjusted their analysis to account for differences in age, gender, and those who developed known risk factors for heart disease early on, they found no measureable increased risk of overall death, death from heart disease, or suffering a heart attack between the tachycardia and nontachycardia groups.

Lead study investigator and cardiologist Joseph Marine, M.D., says the study results should "provide reassurance" among apparently healthy middle-age and older people that such short episodes of ventricular tachycardia provoked on exercise testing do not have long-term consequences to health.

"So long as a medical examination shows no underlying heart disease or other serious health condition, then people should continue to live a normal lifestyle, including a return to exercise after clearance from their physician," says Marine, an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute. "Our results suggest that brief, non-sustained ventricular arrhythmia during exercise testing should, generally, not cause undue alarm in patients or physicians."

When suspicious about heart disease, Marine says, care providers should investigate further for any signs of ischemia, arterial blockages, heart muscle disease or inherited risk of arrhythmia. But if everything checks out negative for heart disease, then restrictions on exercise are not needed. Indeed, he says, regular exercise has long been known to cut down on the risk of developing heart disease.

Study co-investigator and Hopkins cardiologist Gary Gerstenblith, M.D., adds that the latest study results should help physicians better triage which patients to treat after incidents of exercise-induced tachycardia.

"Most people who experience erratic heart rhythms during exercise and who have no underlying heart condition can be left alone, they do not need to be treated, and they can continue to exercise," says Gerstenblith, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "However, patients with erratic heartbeats who are later found to have underlying coronary heart disease should refrain from arduous exercise until consulting with their physician about treatment with drugs and/or an implantable device to improve their heart function and to decrease the risk of dying from a potentially fatal heart rhythm."

Marine says the next steps in their research are to determine whether other arrhythmias brought on by exercise, such as atrial tachycardia, have any impact on future death or heart-attack rates or lead to other arrhythmias.

Funding support for the study was provided by the NIA, a member of the National Institutes of Health.

In addition to Marine and Gerstenblith, Johns Hopkins' Grant Chow, M.D., was involved in this study. Other researchers involved were Veena Shetty, M.S., at the Medstar Research Institute; Jeanette Wright and Samer Najjar, M.D., both at the NIA. The senior investigator on the research was Jerome Fleg, M.D., at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, another member of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Exercise-linked ventricular tachycardia is not a risk to healthy older adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091116163216.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2009, November 16). Exercise-linked ventricular tachycardia is not a risk to healthy older adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091116163216.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Exercise-linked ventricular tachycardia is not a risk to healthy older adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091116163216.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins