New study looks at recent evidence to aid physicians to prevent and manage sudden cardiac arrest risk in competitive athletes. The findings of the study are published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
It's marathon season, and every so often a news report will focus on an athlete who has collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest. Although uncommon, these events get attention.
Sudden cardiac arrest is rare and, in young athletes, is usually the first sign of heart disease, although one study found that 29% of athletes had symptoms of underlying disease before an arrest. It is very difficult to predict or prevent, and screening programs are challenging and of uncertain benefit.
Survival rates after sudden cardiac arrest in athletes are quite high when automated external defibrillators are used.
"Establishing effective resuscitation protocols and increasing the availability of automated external defibrillators in settings where competitive sport is undertaken are the most effective strategies in helping reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death among athletes," says Dr. Paul Dorian, a cardiologist at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario.