Epidemiology of illnesses encountered during a marathon race – an EMS perspective
© Fatima et al; licensee Springer. 2015
Published: 22 April 2015
Background and objectives
There is a dearth of good data from the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) regarding emergencies during a Marathon race. This study aims to document the various emergencies that can occur during the course of a marathon in India. We hope that this study will enable planners to create a database and to improve emergency preparedness for future such events.
A total of 10,000 runners in the age group of 18-80 years, participated in the full (42.2 km) marathon, half (21.1 km) marathon and the 5 K run. Both trained and untrained runners took part in the race.
Southern Indian city of Hyderabad, on the 24th of August from 5:00 AM to 1: 00 PM.
Urban and semi-urban parts of the city with both paved and un-paved roads, maximum recorded temperature during the race was 35° Celsius.
A prospective descriptive epidemiological analysis of race data of runners presenting with emergencies was done using a standardized patient data collection form given to medical aid providers. Triaging was done according to Canadian triage and acuity scale.
Of 10,000 runners, 252 runners required medical assistance during the course of the race.
Of all the patients presenting to EMS 248 were Triage priority 3 or 4 requiring urgent or less urgent care
Exercise related musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 200 (79%) of the total cases
Dehydration related cramps accounted for 33 (13%) of the cases requiring oral or IV fluid rehydration
Terrain related blisters and foot injuries – 9 (3.5%) patients
Vomitings - 4 (1.5%)
A total of 4 patients were triage priority 2 requiring Emergent care – Transported by EMS to the nearest tertiary care hospital.
A 24 year old with symptomatic hypoglycaemia, requiring Dextrose infusion
A 45 year old male with Altered mental status secondary to Heat exhaustion and hypotension requiring IV fluid resuscitation
A 70 year old male with Hypotension and dizziness requiring IV fluid resuscitation
A 23 year old girl who collapsed with hypotension and heat exhaustion requiring IV fluid resuscitation.
Long-distance running can be a safe and benign sport; however there were serious heat related illnesses requiring hospitalization of runners in this study. A well prepared EMS system is paramount to hosting a marathon in India due to extreme temperatures and mass participation.
Consent was taken from the four patients who were triaged as priority 2 and received in-hospital care.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.