I’m not talking about people with heart problems, just healthy people. Is there a risk factor that a fast pule can cause cardiac arrest or can the heart typically handle fast heart rates? I have heard runners dying of heart attacks or people that got their pulse up too high. Well, I have your answer. Yes, they can. An apparently healthy person, who can be a child, a teen or a young adult, can develop a rapid heart rate (tachycardia) through activity in sports, and then the tachycardia can progress to an arrhythmia which can be fatal. This is known as SADS or sudden arrhythmic death syndrome. The problem is that even those without any type of coronary artery disease can succumb to disorders of rhythm which may not be detected by physical exam, EKG, or even a diligent medical history until a cardiac arrest occurs. Of course, dehydration and fluid and electrolyte imbalance, caffeine, hot weather, use all make this type of event more likely especially during something as taxing as a marathon. Yes, a cardiac arrest and resultant death CAN happen in an otherwise healthy person. The strategy is to have an EKG on file prior to entering a marathon or strenuous activity in order to rule out the most common arrhythmic disorders. Secondly, ensure hydration as much as possible, and to sit out if your heart rate exceeds a pre-determined level by your physician, you develop an irregular pulse, or you feel lightheaded. Best wishes.
Music video by Heart performing Alone.