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Athletes, fit people not spared of cardiac arrest

Every person, with or without heart ailments, could be prone to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and sudden cardiac death (SCD), the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) warned yesterday during a health forum in Quezon City.

“No one, not even athletes or even doctors, can be spared from this SCA. It can certainly happen to anyone with or without heart disease,” said PHA Vice President Dr. Jorge Sison.

Sison said the belief that athletes and physically active people are not prone to SCA is a misconception. To note, SCA could happen to those without heart ailments; such as victims who suffered from electrocution, drowning, asthma, electrolyte imbalance, severe dehydration, and heat stroke.

“There is this misconception that athletes and physically active people are physically infallible. Their hearts are enduring and perpetually strong. [But] for some athletes, extreme exercise might even promote SCA,” he noted.

The official added that the symptoms of SCA include fainting spells, chest pains, palpitations, or shortness of breath, especially during physical activities.

“They were unheeded because they thought people who have always been fit and sporty are the last ones to acquire heart diseases,” Sison stated.

According to the PHA, among the more famous athletes who have been victims of SCA are basketball players Samboy Lim and the late Gilbert Bulawan, triathlete veteran Reymond Cruz, and marathoners Manases Alfon Jr. and Army Major Arnold Lubang.

With the threat of SCA and SCD, the PHA is hoping for the implementation of the Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training Law. The CPR Bill, also known as House Bill No. 6204 or Senate Bill 3204, is an act that requires basic education students to undergo age-appropriate basic life support or CPR training.

“Being given a CPR at the right time will be crucial in terms of preventing a victim from going to a vegetative state because each moment that the brain does not get the proper circulation of oxygen can have an effect in the motor capabilities of a person,” PHA CPR Advocacy Committee Chairman Orlando Bugarin explained.

CPR is an emergency procedure applied when someone’s heart stopped beating. (CHARINA ECHALUCE)