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"Former U.S. Pro Football Players May Face Increased Risk of Heart Rhythm Problem" - Linda Carroll

  • Reuters Online
  • New York, NY
  • (July 24, 2019)

Former players from the National Football League may face an increased risk of a type of irregular heartbeat that could lead to stroke, a new study suggests. Researchers found that retired NFL players were nearly six times as likely to develop atrial fibrillation as men of the same age in the general population, according to results published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. The new study is a “good initial observation, but we will have to have more objective evidence of (other health conditions) and risk factors plus long-term monitoring of atrial fibrillation for there to be a clear correlation,” said Dr. Johanna Contreras, an assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and director of heart failure at Mount Sinai St Luke’s in New York City. One issue with the study is that “there are many other factors that can increase the incidence of atrial fibrillation, like age, smoking, alcohol use, steroid use, poor sleeping hygiene, and sleep apnea,” Dr. Contreras said. “There was also no objective verification of diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension, which are associated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation.”

— Johanna Contreras, MD, Assistant Professor, Medicine, Cardiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Director, Division of Heart Failure, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s

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