Friday, April 21, 2017

Make them run in the countryside

A surprising finding when looking at the health effect of marathons (not on the silly participants, but others):
A study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine finds that the death rate from heart attacks rises 15 percent on the day of marathons, largely because of delays caused by road closures.

The authors, led by Harvard Medical School’s Anupam Jena, analyzed the death rate for Medicare patients hospitalized for cardiac arrest and heart attacks on marathon days in 11 cities, compared to non-marathon days. For example, they looked at the Monday of the Boston marathon, compared with the death rate for the five previous and five following Mondays. Then, they compared it to the death rate in a nearby city that wasn’t affected by marathon-related road closures.

It turns out that for every 100 people who have a heart attack or cardiac arrest, an additional four people die if they happen to have it on the day of the marathon.

It took about four minutes longer to reach the hospital by ambulance on marathon days. But the study authors suspect the real reason for the heightened mortality is the delays patients encountered when they tried to drive themselves to the hospital—as about a quarter of them opted to do. In those cases, it can take 30-to-40 minutes longer to reach the hospital on a day with marathon road closures, Jena stimates.

Jena acknowledged that we don’t know, for a fact, that those people died because it took them too long to reach the hospital, but that explanation seems most likely.
The obvious solution is to ban city marathons.   Sure, run around in the countryside, if you must, but don't get in my way of the drive to hospital.

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