March 3, 2009

Sudden death in young athletes: USA needs more screening?

I was reading this statement:

The rate of young athletes in the United States dying of sudden cardiac failure is relatively rare, on par with the same age group being involved in a lightning-related death, researchers say.

Source: Sudden Cardiac Death Rare in Young Athletes - Medlineplus

Sudden deaths are more then half due to underlying cardiovascular disease.

While ECGs are used regularly in pre-screening athletes in Europe, particular in Italy, debate has been ongoing as to whether the United States should call for more rigorous and broad health screening of athletes.

In Italy I have to do a sports medicine visit if I want to compete in any sport.
Just for running, exams, besides history and physical examination, include visus and color perception, urine analysis, spirometry, resting and exercise ECG testing. This has to be repeated every year.

I read that:

The American Heart Association recommends deeper examination only if a first-line physical and family history raises questions or issues.

I would appreciate any comments on this. Thanks.

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