Heart attacks surged in Germany as football team marched to World Cup glory in 2014

Hospitals are advised to prepare for a rise in admissions linked to major mass spectator events

For fans cheering on their teams at this year’s Euro 2020 tournament, the bid for a place in the final comes with a risk: a higher chance of a heart attack.

The World Cup in 2014 was associated with a higher number of hospital admissions for heart attacks than at the same time in the year before or after, according to a study in Scientific Reports.

But the study found that there was only one occasion when there was a higher rate of death from heart attacks in hospital – when Germany overcame Argentina in the final after an extra-time goal.

German researchers found there were 18,479 hospital admissions due to heart attacks during the World Cup, nearly 4 per cent higher than in the 31-day period the following year, and 2 per cent higher than in the previous year.

Games that involved the German team did not seem to have an effect on admissions but deaths in hospital were higher on the day of the final, which was decided by a very late goal by Mario Gotze.

The researchers said the “increased mental stress of large, popular sporting events like the World Cup” may affect the number of heart attacks.

It said hospital managers should use the research to prepare for a potential surge in cases during such events.

The study was published on the day that it was revealed that Denmark’s Christian Eriksen will be fitted with a heart-starting device after collapsing during his side’s opening match against Finland on Saturday.