Interpretation of the Electrocardiogram of Young Athletes

Sudden cardiac death in a young athlete is a tragic and high-profile event. The best way to prevent such deaths is, however, highly debated. The Italian experience informed the European recommendation for the inclusion of a 12-lead ECG in screening tests for all athletes.1,2 Although American authors have acknowledged the possible benefits of such an approach, many have expressed concern over the portability of such a model to the US healthcare system. Concern has focused in particular on the idea of mandatory testing, cost effectiveness, the availability of practitioners qualified to interpret ECGs, and the burden of false-positive results. With professional sports organizations such as the International Olympic Committee, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and the Union of European Football Associations endorsing or implementing screening programs for their athletes, with a recent analysis suggesting a degree of cost effectiveness in line with other accepted medical interventions,3 and with the American Heart Association offering a cautious endorsement to the idea of local programs,4 volunteer-led testing programs across the US have begun to emerge. Thus, although no detailed guidance for the interpretation of the athlete´s ECG exists, many physicians will be called on to interpret an athlete´s ECG.

Editorial see p 669

A principal obstacle to such interpretation is the difficulty in distinguishing abnormal patterns from physiological effects of training. Many clinical and ECG findings that may be a cause of concern in the general …

Autor / Fonte:Abhimanyu Uberoi; Ricardo Stein; Marco V. Perez, more. Circulation. 2011; 124: 746-757 doi: 10.1161/?CIRCULATIONAHA.110.013078