predicting those at risk of exercise induced death

Nutritionists interested in promoting good life styles always mention sporting activities. However from time to time this worthy advice is marred by the death of a fit young person.
Cardiac death in young athletes is caused by a wide range of structural diseases of the heart eg cardiomyopathies and electrical channel defects.
A questionnaire before embarking on heavy sport can help identify those at risk e.g. family history of sudden death in young parents , exertional chest pain, undue breathlessness fainting attacks .
However more than two thirds of sudden deaths occur in previously fit young athletes.
Clearance by a standardised questionnaire, physical examination and an . electrocardiogram reduced sudden death to one tenth of the previous experience
A large study by Sofi and colleagues in the BMJ showed that resting and exercise electrocardiography was a good way to identify those at risk.
Editorial 2008 Sudden cardiac death in young athletes BMJ vol 337 pp 61-62
Sofi et al 208, Cardiovascular evaluation ,including resting and exercise electrocardiography before participating in competitive sport: cross sectional study. BMJ vol 337 88-92

Martin Eastwood
Back to top