Losses By Local Sports Teams Tied to Increase in Heart Attacks Among Men

April 24, 2020
Patrick Campbell

New research from investigators in Poland suggests losses by a local sports team were associated with a 27% increase in acute coronary syndrome admissions.

New research from a team of European investigators is giving new meaning to the phrase “heart-breaking loss”.

An analysis of 10k individuals from a county in Poland indicated losses by the local professional sports team were linked to a 27% increase in hospital admissions for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) among male patients.

"Our study shows that poor results from the local professional football team coincided with more heart attacks in male residents," said lead investigator Lukasz Kuzma, MD, PhD, of the Medical University of Bialystok, Poland, in a statement. "The findings suggest that the mental and emotional stress of defeat can provoke cardiac events."

In an effort to evaluate the impact of stress caused by contests involving local professional sports teams, Kuzma and a team of colleagues from the Clinical Hospital of Medical University of Bialystok designed an analysis to assess associations between rates of ACS and the performance of Jagiellonia Bialystok football team—a professional soccer team in Poland. From hospital data, investigators identified a cohort of 10,529 patients admitted due to ACS from the city of Bialystok and Bialystok County between 2007-2018 that met their inclusion criteria.

Of the 10,529 individuals, the mean age was 66.6 (12) years, 62% were men, 27.9% were obese, 26.2% were type 2 diabetics, and 56.9% suffered from hyperlipidemia. Of the 6563 men included in the analysis, the mean age 65 years, 29.2% were obese, 23.6% were type 2 diabetics, and 63.9% suffered from hyperlipidemia. Investigators noted the mean daily number of ACS period was 2.4 (1.7) and Jagiellonia Bialystok competed in a total of 451 matches during the study period.

Investigators used a multivariate Poisson regression model with a time of 0 and +1 day to evaluate impact of matches. Other variables included in the analysis were match location and sex of patient.

Results of the analysis indicated an association between increased risk of ACS admission and home matches as well as losses by Jagiellonia Bialystok, but only among men. Specifically, admission for ACS rose by 9% (OR 1.09; 95% CI 0.89—1.24; P=0.53) within the first 2 days of a recent home match and by 27% within the first 2 days of a loss (OR 1.27; 95% CI 1.02—1.58; P=0.03).

Based on the results of the analysis, investigators included results of the local professional soccer team related to incidence of ACS in men—suggesting mental and emotional stress associated with sporting events could be a trigger for ACS in local male populations.

"Strong emotions can induce heart attacks and our study indicates that losing a home game can affect supporters," said Kuzma, in the aforementioned statement. "Fans, particularly men with unhealthy lifestyles, should take up regular exercise and avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. These steps are the key to supporting your favorite team as long as you wish without damaging your own health."

This study, “Do football matches affect cardiovascular events?,” was presented at EAPC Essentials 4 You, a scientific platform of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).


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