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Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015 Oct;22(10):1254-60. doi: 10.1177/2047487314539433. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Winning or losing does matter: Acute cardiac admissions in New Zealand during Rugby World Cup tournaments.

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Department of Applied Sciences and Allied Health, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, New Zealand
Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Sunderland, UK.



The relationship between watching major sporting events and cardiac hospital admissions is contentious. This study is the first to investigate cardiovascular admissions during Rugby World Cup (RWC) tournaments.


New Zealand (NZ) public hospital admissions data were analysed for cardiovascular events during the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 RWC tournaments. The exposure period was the day of the NZ All Blacks last match and 2 days post-match. The control period was equivalent days in October or November for 3 years prior to or after each RWC. The NZ 2011 semi-final win and 2000 Olympics opening ceremony were also analysed. There were 281 ± 14 and 3313 ± 379 cardiac admissions in the exposure and control periods. The semi-final loss in 2003 was associated with a 50% (p < 0.01) increase in pooled heart failure admissions and a 20% (p < 0.05) increase in pooled acute coronary syndromes admissions. Increases in heart failure were specific to women with a two-fold increase on match day and 2-days post (p < 0.01). There was no increase in male heart failure admissions but arrhythmias increased 2.6 times (p < 0.01) 1-day after losing the 2003 semi-final. In contrast, admissions were typically lower after the 2011 semi-final win and Olympics opening ceremony.


This is the first study to find a relationship between hospital admissions for heart failure in women and a major sporting event. Preventive health measures should be considered in fans with cardiovascular disease or at high risk of cardiovascular events during sporting events. Winning or losing does matter.


Major sporting events; arrhythmias; cardiovascular disease; cardiovascular triggers; heart failure; rugby; spectators

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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