The Modern Equine Vet
August 2023
Vol 13 Issue 8 2023
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News Notes

How Common Is Sudden Cardiac Death?

Premature depolarizations occur more often among horses during cross-country competition, and those in the upper divisions were at a higher risk, according to a recent study done my veterinarians from several U.S. facilities, including New Bolton Center, in Kennett Square, Pa., and Equine Sports Medicine Consultants, in Newark, Del.

They did a prospective, cross-sectional study to determine the frequency and types of rhythm disturbances that these elite athletes suffer. They also wanted to highlight the factors for premature depolarisations occurring during the cross-country phase of United States Eventing Association (USEA) and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)-sanctioned events.

They obtained continuous electrocardiographic (ECG) recordings from 75 horses prior to, during and immediately following the cross-country competition and categorized them by complexity (singles, couplets, triplets, complex).

Premature depolarizations were identified in 42 of the 75 horses (56%) during the competition. The horses competing in the upper divisions of eventing had higher odds for having any premature depolarisations during the event compared with the lower divisions (OR = 17.5 [4.3, 72.01], P=0.006).

Another factor was the time the heart rate (HR) was >199 beats per minute, which was associated with more complex arrhythmias (triplets, salvos and tachyarrhythmias) (OR = 1.01 [1.0, 1.02], P=0.005), they said.

They also found that an irregular heartbeat at rest was associated with arrhythmia in the early recovery period (OR = 3.5 [1.1, 10.8], P=0.03). MeV

For more information:

Durando MM, Slack J, Birks E, et al. Premature depolarisations in horses competing in United States Eventing Association and Fédération Equestre Internationale-sanctioned 3-day events. E Vet J. 2023 May 30. 2023 May 30. doi: 10.1111/evj.13948.
https://beva.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/evj.13948