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Sports-Related Sudden Death Incidence Varies by Sex
Increased incidence in men; for men, incidence increases with age and varies with type of sport

TUESDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- The incidence of sports-related sudden death during moderate-to-vigorous exercise varies by sex, with incidence increasing with age and varying by type of sport among men but not women, according to a research letter published in the Aug. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Eloi Marijon, M.D., from the Université Paris Descartes, and colleagues conducted a prospective study between 2005 and 2010 to describe the incidence of sports-related sudden death by specific sports, and by sex and age.

Over five years, the researchers identified 775 sports-related cases of sudden death (incidence rate, 5.45 per 1,000,000 sports participants/year) during moderate-to-vigorous exertion. Fifty-one percent of these cases were first reported by the emergency medical services and 49 percent were reported by the press and confirmed, usually by emergency medical services. Five percent of the cases were women; their mean age was 44 years, compared with 46 years in men (P = 0.33). In women, the overall mean incidence rate was estimated to be 0.51 per 1,000,000 female sports participants, compared with 10.1 in men. For men, but not for women, the incidence rate of sports-related sudden death increased significantly with age. For men, but not for women, the overall incidence of sudden death differed by sport.

"Strategies for community screening prior to participation in recreational sports activities should consider both the types of sports to be undertaken and the sex of participants," the authors write.

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