Video Games & Venous Thromboembolism

In 2004, a 24-year-old man died from “Gamer’s thrombosis”—a venous thromboembolism (VTE) after playing an internet computer game for about 80 consecutive hours.

Then, in 2013 a 31-year-old man who went to the hospital with pain and swelling in his leg. He claimed to have been playing PlayStation while lying in bed for 8 hours a day, 4 days in a row. The pain and swelling started on the second day, but he continued playing for another 2 days before seeking medical attention.

The average video game player in the US plays 13 hours a week, and “extreme gamers” (4% of the total gaming population) play as much as 48.5 hours a week (2010 data). This number is only expected to rise in the coming future as the gaming industry grows and more gamers seek them out.

A case study on the issues stated that along with prolonged immobility, “Previous research has shown an increase in blood pressure and heart rate with exposure to violent video games as part of the physiological stress response, suggesting an association between acute psychological stress and a hypercoagulable state” are all risk factors for VTE.

Alan Lucerna, DO, assistant director of the emergency department at Jefferson Health-Stratford, in Stratford, NJ recently diagnosed a VTE case and recommends games that promote movement to prevent VTE.

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