[Sudden cardiac death in athletes and its prevention]

T Tönnis, C Tack, K-H Kuck
Herz 2015, 40 (3): 379-85
Athletes and especially elite athletes are predominantly young people and are not associated with high health risks, apart from traumatic injuries. Nevertheless, there is a significantly high incidence of sudden cardiac death (SCD), which ranges from 0.6 to 3.0/100,000 athletes per year. Often the SCD is the first manifestation of an underlying cardiac disease. Distinct structural cardiac disorders, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, coronary artery anomalies (17 %), inflammatory disorders (6 %) and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy as well as conditions without structural cardiac abnormalities, such as primary electrical diseases (channelopathies) are important causes of sudden death. A simple screening can help to identify athletes with these diseases and allow specific therapies or precautionary measures to be initiated.


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