No doubt that over the weekend you will have seen or heard about the shocking scenes that unfolded during the FA Cup quarter final match between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers on Saturday evening. The cardiac arrest suffered by Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba has highlighted the risk associated with undiagnosed heart conditions. One of the UK’s leading cardiologists, who wished to remain anonymous, said ‘that it was an accident waiting to happen’.
The cardiac arrest that Muamba suffered on Saturday evening may have been caused by a disorder in the rhythm of the heart (arrhythmia) and may have been induced by any number of underlying heart conditions such as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). This is where the left ventricle of the heart becomes disorganised and then thickens. Severe cases of HCM can cause sudden death during any form of physical activity such as exercise. The heart begins to shake and shiver, then stops’s beating normally. It is uncommon but can be deadly. This condition tends to be genetic, but can occur in an individual event.
Other conditions that could have caused this type of cardiac arrest;
- Right Ventricle Dysplasia – this is where the heart sucks in abnormal fatty tissue. It is difficult to diagnose at first and may result in an MRI scan.
- Brugada Syndrome and Long QT Symdrome – this is when the electrical movement in the heart becomes abnormal.
The events on Saturday night are the most recent in a series of cases where top class footballers have collapsed during matches. The major first incident happened in 2003, when Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe collapsed during a match between Cameroon and Columbia in Lyon, France. Medic’s spent 45 minutes trying to restart his heart but sadly he died shortly afterwards.
It is still unknown what is the cause of these sudden but fatal attacks on young people or sports men and women who can play for years without showing any symptoms. In football, the Football Association automatically send players aged between 16-17 years old for an ECG and echocardogram scans, paid for by the FA, to see if there are any under lying heart conditions, but my expert cardiologists have said that these conditions can develop in later life. According to Gordon Taylor, Chairman of the Professional Footballers Association, Fabrice has had 4 check ups.
It was also reported on Sunday that Kilmarnock FC’s midfielder Liam Kelly’s father passed away whilst watching his son’s team beat Celtic in the Scottish League Cup Final at Hampden Park. His father was by the dugout when he suffered a heart attack at the end of the match. Paramedic’s treated him at at the scene, but unfortunately Mr Kelly died hour’s later at the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow.
The Life Dept adds: heart disease is Britain’s biggest killer and thus one of the biggest causes of life insurance claims. Of course, given developments in medical care, fewer people that have a heart attack will die and according to Legal and General 8% of critical illness insurance payouts are for heart disease. In addition to this heart valve replacement and coronary artery bypass grafts also accounted for a further 1.16% and 1.4% of claims.
Being off work due to heart disease or heart attack will be covered by income protection cover. Income protection is long term insurance to cover loss of earnings due to being off work due to accident or sickness. Liverpool Victoria say that their average claim duration for income protection is eight years.
Of course the best scenario is to avoid making a claim by staying healthy. There are dozens of stories in our Live Longer section about healthy living and how to avoid heart disease albeit, as Fabrice has demonstrated, even a super healthy lifestyle, can’t completely eradicate the risk. Also we have a weekly Live Longer newsletter which you can sign up for to get the latest updates.
Written exclusively for THE LIFE insurance DEPT | 19 Mar 2012 | providers of life insurance, critical illness insurance and income protection cover.