Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young athletes is relatively uncommon but tragic when it occurs. Many of these deaths can be prevented by pre-exercise screening to identify cardiac abnormalities and those at high risk. Although recent research has provided much needed information on SCD in athletes, there remain significant gaps in the knowledge needed to determine an optimal screening protocol. This review examines the incidence and demographics of SCD in athletes and the difficulties in determining whether changes in an athlete's heart are due to training or represent a potentially malignant congenital abnormality. Current guidelines for screening and the intense debate over the use of the 12-lead electrocardiogram are discussed. Lastly, the importance of a response plan to an apparent SCD event that includes on-site/on-field automated external defibrillators will be discussed. A case study that illustrates the challenges in screening is presented.
- Athlete's heart
- Preparticipation athletic screening
- Sudden cardiac death
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine