Experts have shed light on how to prevent cardiac arrhythmias and even sudden death in sports persons even as atrial fibrillation continues to pose a huge death threat to endurance athletes.
Atrial fibrillation, which represents one of the major cardiovascular reasons for hospital admission, is common among cyclists, marathon runners and other athletes with a long history of endurance training.
Dr. Luis Mont, from the Hospital Clmnic de Barcelona in Spain, says that atrial fibrillation is more frequent in middle-aged individuals who formerly took part in competitive sports and continue to be active, or simply in those involved in regular endurance training without having actually participated in competitive sports.
"So we have to look at the effects of endurance or athletic training with a more open view," he added.
Dr Mont says that circumferential pulmonary vein ablation (CPVA) is a recently introduced technique, which identifies the signals causing the atrial fibrillation, and isolates their source in the pulmonary veins from the left ventricle of the heart.
It has been successfully used in routine patients with atrial fibrillation and, according to new data; it is now as effective.
Another study using mouse model showed that deconditioning reverses expression of cardiac fibrosis markers in endurance training.
Mont showed that those with a history of arrhythmias following endurance training may benefit from a period of "deconditioning" following their efforts.
The study showed that endurance exercise causes cardiac structural changes, which may play a role in the development of arrhythmias.
Anti-hypertensive drug losartan might also help in preventing the heart fibrosis induced by endurance exercise.