JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

The athletic preparticipation evaluation: cardiovascular assessment

Elizabeth A Giese, Francis G O'Connor, Fred H Brennan, Patrick J Depenbrock, Ralph G Oriscello
American Family Physician 2007 April 1, 75 (7): 1008-14
17427614
Thousands of young athletes receive preparticipation evaluations each year in the United States. One objective of these evaluations is to detect underlying cardiovascular abnormalities that may predispose an athlete to sudden death. The leading cardiovascular causes of sudden death in young athletes include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congenital coronary artery anomalies, repolarization abnormalities, and Marfan syndrome. Because these abnormalities are rare and difficult to detect clinically, it is recommended that family physicians use standardized history questions and examination techniques. Athletes, accompanied by their parents, if possible, should be asked about family history of cardiac disease and sudden death; personal cardiac history; and exercise-related symptoms, specifically syncope, chest pain, and palpitations. The physical examination should include blood pressure measurement, palpation of radial and femoral pulses, dynamic cardiac auscultation, and evaluation for Marfan syndrome. Athletes with "red flag" signs or symptoms may need activity restriction, special testing, and referral if the diagnosis is unclear.

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