Watching TV, Dying From PE

Samuel Z. Goldhaber, MD


November 04, 2016

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Hello. This is Dr Sam Goldhaber from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, speaking for the Clot Blog at on Medscape. I am speaking from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2016, in Rome, Italy. Today I am going to tackle a subject that rhymes: watching too much TV and dying from PE.

A very interesting study[1] was published recently in Circulation. The Japanese Collaborative Cohort Study prospectively followed a cohort of more than 85,000 Japanese people, many for more than 15 years. Investigators collected information on a number of factors, including lifestyle habits, height, weight, medical risk factors, and comorbidities. They then conducted an analysis of those individuals who had suffered fatal pulmonary embolism (PE) to tease out risk factors for PE.

In this cohort study, a substantial amount of detailed information was collected, including the number of hours each person spent watching television each day. The group of patients who watched 2.5-5 hours per day of television had a 70% increased chance of suffering fatal PE compared with the rest of the cohort that was being followed. And those individuals in the cohort who watched more than 5 hours of television per day had a 2.5 times greater than average chance of suffering a fatal PE. I cannot imagine anyone sitting in front of a television for more than 5 hours. I believe that today, those who are going to watch a lot of videos or television shows may be watching them on their portable tablet and perhaps moving around. However, I do believe that this subject points out the importance of not being sedentary and the risks of being immobile.

The study also points out that there is a group of people who are wedded to the television and binge-watch, hour after hour after hour. This is certainly also true in the United States.

Thus, the take-home message is to cut down on the immobility. If you are going to binge on television, perhaps spread out the binges over time. Indeed, do not watch so much television because it can be deadly, in rare circumstances, because of its association with fatal PE.

This is Dr Sam Goldhaber, signing off for the Clot Blog.


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