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Sudden death in young athletes: Important causes not identified by the screening process
Date:3/10/2013

stry, 44 events were related to aortic stenosis (19) or aortic disease (25). On average, this group of athletes was 17.6 years old, and 40 were males. The most prominent sports represented in this group were football and basketball, followed baseball and softball.

Eighteen of the 19 deaths related to aortic stenosis occurred just after exercise, reported Harris. Also, 16 deaths attributed to aortic disease occurred during exercise, 6 occurred during sedentary activity, and 2 during sleep.

Data on pre-participation screening were available for 34 of the 44 athletes. Of the 34 deaths, 15 young athletes had been assessed specifically by cardiologists, 3 of the athletes had a known aortic abnormality and 8 had previously been diagnosed with aortic stenosis or bicuspid aortic valvesthe latter of which occurs when an aortic valve only has two leaflets instead of three.

Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that aortic stenosis and aortic diseases are uncommon, but important, causes of sudden death among young, competitive athletes, usually while playing basketball or football.

Twenty-five percent of the athletes (11 of 44) complained of symptoms of chest, back or abdominal pain in days prior to collapse. Three of the 11 had been seen in the emergency room. Two of the 11 had seen a cardiologist the day prior to death.

"We were able to identify the majority of the athletes in this study had been cleared to participate in sports and one-third had been evaluated by a cardiologist," Harris reports. "The widespread screening process failed to detect important cardiovascular abnormalities in 19 of the deaths. In the remaining 15 cases, suspicion of cardiovascular conditions was raised, but the athletes were allowed to continue to compete in competitive sports."


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Contact: Steve Goodyear
sgoodyear@mhif.org
612-863-1658
Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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