Admissions to hospital for myocardial infarction and World Cup football: database survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes


Objectives To examine hospital admissions for a range of diagnoses on days surrounding England's 1998 World Cup football matches. Design Analysis of hospital admissions obtained from English hospital episode statistics. Setting England. Participants Population aged 15-64 years. Main outcome measures Ratio of number of admissions for acute myocardial infarction, stroke, deliberate self harm, and road traffic injuries on the day of and five days after England's World Cup matches, compared with admissions at die same time in previous and following years and in the month preceding the tournament. Results Risk of admission for acute myocardial infarction increased by 25% on 30 June 1998 (the day England lost to Argentina in a penalty shoot-out) and the following two days. No excess admissions occurred for other diagnoses or on the days of the other England matches. The effect was the same when only the two days after the match were treated as the exposed condition. Individual analyses of the day of and the two days after the Argentina match showed 55 extra admissions for myocardial infarctions compared with the number expected. Conclusion The increase in admissions suggests that myocardial infarction can be triggered by emotional upset, such as watching your football team lose an important match.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1439-1442
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Medical Journal
Issue number7378
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2002