Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Cardiac Arrest Risk Low in Marathons, Study Finds

Most Cases of Heart Stopping Linked to Pre-existing Conditions

Marathons & Cardiac Arrest: Perspective

The study findings offer valuable information, says Ravi Dave, MD, a cardiologist at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center & Orthopaedic Hospital in Los Angeles. He reviewed the study findings for WebMD.

The findings will help doctors determine which tests may help identify potential problems in runners, he says. An echocardiogram, for instance, can help identify the heart muscle thickening, Dave says. This test uses sound waves to create a picture of the heart.

A stress test, done on a treadmill, can help identify those who have severe blockages, he says.

Those planning to run long-distance events should get a medical checkup, Dave says. "You need to indicate to the physician the reason for the checkup: that you are running," he tells WebMD.

It is better, Dave says, for beginners to do a half marathon before progressing to a full marathon.

Marathons & Heart Attacks: Advice

"Every person new to the sport should talk to their doctor about [heart] risk," Baggish says. A doctor will order tests based on factors such as a runner's age and family history of heart problems, he says.

Long-distance running, he says, "is overall a safe activity." However, ''leading the running lifestyle doesn't completely protect you from heart disease."

Baggish reports no disclosures. Some co-authors report receiving consulting fees from Lupin Pharmaceuticals and Furiex Pharmaceuticals, grant funding from GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis, and lecture fees from Merck, Pfizer, Abbott, and others.


Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Flat Abs
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
woman using ice pack

man exercising
7 most effective exercises
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
Teen girl jogging
Taylor Lautner