Document Detail

Is prevention of sudden death in young athletes feasible?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10443050     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A wide spectrum of cardiovascular abnormalities may cause sudden death in young athletes, and even minor lesions may be life-threatening by jeopardizing the electrical order of the heart during effort. The culprit diseases are clinically covert and difficult to diagnose or suspect. Early identification during systematic preparticipation screening might reduce the risk and incidence of sudden death. In the time interval 1979-1996, 49 young athletes died suddenly in the Veneto Region. The prevalence of sudden death was calculated as 0.75/100,000/year among young nonathletes and 1.6/100,000/year among young athletes (p < 0.01). Among athletes, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy was the leading cause, followed by atherosclerotic coronary artery disease and congenital coronary anomalies. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has been a very uncommon cause of fatal events, due to the identification and disqualification of affected subjects at the preparticipation screening. Only arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy and congenital anomalies of coronary arteries occurred more frequently in athletes than in nonathletes, as to indicate that these diseases are particularly prone to cardiac arrest during effort. The rarity of prodroma in patients affected by coronary artery disease, both acquired and congenital, particularly the absence of chest pain, stresses the difficulty in suspecting these lesions. On the opposite, most of athletes with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy had something that might have alerted, either in terms of family history or electrical disorders. Our data are strongly in favor of an effective role of the Italian protocol for preparticipation screening in preventing sudden death in young athletes affected by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. With increased awareness of diagnostic criteria, also athletes with concealed arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy will be identified in the future and sudden death possibly prevented.
G Thiene; C Basso; D Corrado
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Cardiologia (Rome, Italy)     Volume:  44     ISSN:  0393-1978     ISO Abbreviation:  Cardiologia     Publication Date:  1999 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1999-08-17     Completed Date:  1999-08-17     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8506637     Medline TA:  Cardiologia     Country:  ITALY    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  497-505     Citation Subset:  IM    
Istituto di Anatomia Patologica, Università degli Studi, Padova.
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MeSH Terms
Age Factors
Cardiomyopathies / epidemiology
Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology,  prevention & control*
Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology*,  mortality
Italy / epidemiology
Physical Exertion
Risk Factors

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