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Sports guidelines for long QT syndrome patients may be too strict, Mayo Clinic finds
Date:7/24/2012

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Participation in competitive sports by people with long QT syndrome -- a genetic abnormality in the heart's electrical system -- has been a matter of debate among physicians. Current guidelines disqualify most LQTS patients from almost every sport. In a first-of-its-kind study, Mayo Clinic's LQTS Clinic recently examined its own experience, determining the outcome of LQTS patients who chose to remain athletes against guideline recommendations. The study is published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the study, the records of 353 LQTS patients ages 6 to 40 who were evaluated at Mayo Clinic between July 2000 and November 2010 were reviewed to determine which patients chose to continue athletic participation after LQTS diagnosis and LQTS-related events.

Of the 157 patients who were athletes at the time of their evaluation, 27 (17 percent) chose to disqualify themselves, "debunking the myth" that families would never choose to quit sports, says senior author Michael Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., pediatric cardiologist and Director of Mayo's LQTS Clinic. More importantly, of the 130 patients who chose to remain an athlete, only one experienced a LQTS-triggered event during a sport; the athlete received an appropriate shock from his implantable cardioverter-defibrillator on two separate occasions. For the study, researchers defined a competitive athlete as a person who participated in organized competitive sports at the little league, middle or high school, collegiate or professional level.

"About eight years ago after I started to see some of these lives ruined by the recommendation to discontinue sports, we decided to challenge the status quo," Dr. Ackerman says. "We adopted a philosophy that empowered patients and their families with the right to make an informed and difficult decision about continuing in competitive sports, a possible LQTS risk-taking behavior."

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Contact: Traci Klein
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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