Two researchers found that more than 1,500 athletes have suffered cardiac arrest since COVID-19 vaccines began, compared with a previous average of 29 athletes per year, suggesting that the vaccines are causing a dramatic increase in such problems. cardiac.

The researchers cited an issue of a blog listing news about recent deaths and medical emergencies among people of all ages, from around the world, some of which were attributed to other causes.

Following Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest during a game Monday, posts on social media and Fox News gave air to a long-circulated and flawed narrative that COVID-19 vaccines are causing an increase dramatic in athlete deaths.

“Cardiologist Peter McCullough and researcher Panagis Polykretis investigated this trend in Europe, the European sports leagues.

They found that before COVID and the COVID-19 vaccines there were approximately 29 cardiac arrests in those European sports leagues per year,” Fox’s Tucker Carlson said in a segment on Tuesday. “Since the anti-vaccine campaign began, there have been more than 1,500 total cardiac arrests in those leagues and two-thirds of them were fatal.”

In fact, Carlson was referencing a letter, not a rigorous study, that McCullough and Polykretis published in a Scandinavian journal in late 2022. And that letter simply quotes the blog.

The blog list is a compilation of news reports on recent deaths and medical emergencies, and includes cases that were not reported as being caused by cardiac arrest: some deaths, for example, were supposedly due to cancer. The list also includes incidents from around the world and among people of all ages, including some in their 70s and 80s, not just athletes in “European sports leagues,” as Carlson claimed.

“It’s not real research,” Dr. Matthew Martinez, director of sports cardiology at Atlantic Health System at Morristown Medical Center, told the AP. “Anyone can write a letter to the editor and then cite an article that is not academically rigorous.”

Dr. Jonathan Kim, chief of sports cardiology at Emory University School of Medicine, similarly said of the blog post: “It’s shocking to use that as a quote.” “It’s scientific garbage, you can’t just pull a bunch of media reports,” he added.

McCullough and Polykretis’ letter goes on to compare the blog’s questionable figure of “1,598” recent incidents to a 2006 study that found 1,101 reports of sudden cardiac death in athletes over a 38-year period, or an average of 29 per year.

That analysis, however, reviewed the literature specifically for reports of sudden cardiac death among athletes younger than 35 years.

The study also noted that its findings were limited because cases were likely undercounted.” Dr. Neel Chokshi, medical director of Penn Medicine’s Sports Cardiology and Fitness Program, said it would be “inaccurate” to draw conclusions by comparing the 2006 study and the blog’s figures.

“The data presented here do not support the notion that vaccines have caused an increase in sudden death,” he said.

Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines carry a rare risk of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, though experts and officials say the benefits of the vaccination outweigh the risks. Cardiologists have told the AP they have not seen the dramatic increase in sudden cardiac arrest as alleged on social media.

McCullough and Fox News did not return requests for comment.

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