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Police Are At Higher Risk Of Sudden Cardiac Death During Stressful Duties

Update Date: Nov 19, 2014 10:15 AM EST

Police officers in the United States are at 30 to 70 times higher risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) when they're involved in routine or non-emergency  activities, according to a new study. 

The study is first to provide data that demonstrates the impact of stressful duties on on-duty SCD.

Physical training activities were also associated with roughly 20- to 25-fold higher SCD risk than routine law enforcement work. 

"Although we suspected that strenuous police duties could trigger sudden cardiac deaths in vulnerable officers, we were struck by the magnitudes of the risks and their consistency across different statistical models," said Stefanos Kales, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health at HSPH, chief of occupational and environmental medicine at CHA, and senior author of the study, in the press release.

Findings of the study suggest the need for cardiovascular disease prevention efforts among law enforcement officers. 

"Our findings have important public health implications for health promotion among law enforcement officers and call for the implementation of primary and secondary cardiovascular disease prevention efforts such as lifestyle and medical interventions to reduce officer's risk of sudden cardiac death," said Kales.

The study appears in  BMJ (British Medical Journal).

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