Death on Duty


By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study finds that, during stressful situations such as suspect pursuits and altercations, police officers have about 30 to 70 times higher risk of sudden cardiac death, compared to the risk during routine duties.

Stefanos Kales’ team at Harvard School of Public Health examined 441 deaths. He believes the risk is largely confined to officers with underlying heart disease.

“Heart conditions are often unrecognized until stressors provoke an acute event such as sudden cardiac death or heart attack.”

Kales says officers can reduce their risk by maintaining physical fitness and healthy weights; avoiding tobacco; and treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The study in the British Medical Journal was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

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