Athlete Heart Screening
Athletes - does a Cardiac Screen make sense?
While cardiac death in the young is uncommon it can strike without warning, and affects elite athletes and ordinary young people alike. According to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young, each week at least 12 people under the age of 35 die suddenly in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions, although it believes this may be an underestimate of the extent of sudden cardiac deaths.
An Italian study, carried out at the Institute of Sports Medicine in Florence, suggests that ECG would be a highly effective way to find those most at risk and utilises one ECG at rest and one while exercising. The resting ECG found that 1.2% of those screened had a previously undetected heart abnormality but this rose to almost 5% in the exercise ECG. The exercise ECG was more likely to find problems in older athletes.
Currently, in the US and Europe, most sporting authorities screen only with a patient and family history followed by a physical examination. The Italian study results suggest that this approach would miss more than 96% of patients and falsely reassure them. The European Society of Cardiology and the International Olympic Committee recommend cardiac screening for any young person taking part in competitive sport.
What does my Athlete Cardio Screen consist of?
1 Initial visit
- A detailed consultation with history taking focussing on current symptoms, your personal and your family history.
- Physical examination including a detailed cardio-vascular examination.
- Detailing any current cardiac symptoms
- An analysis of your cardiac risk factor profile
- Summary of past medical history and current medications
2 Specialist cardiac investigations
- Resting 12 lead Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Exercise ECG
- Echocardiogram - at an additional cost, optional
- Blood tests - at an additional cost, optional. (If reasonably recent results are available from prior GP visits I will use them - Full blood count, U&E, Thyroid function, cholesterol profile and Glucose both fasting & BNP).
- CT coronary calcium score - at an additional cost, optional
3 Review and report
- I will write a detailed report summarising your Athlete Cardio Screen results along with recommendations and advice to you and your GP.
Practicing cardiology is impossible without the support of a team. I am privileged to have experienced and efficient teams at my side.
Being up to-date is very important to me. I therefore attend regular internal meetings, external courses, national and international conferences.
I have yearly appraisals and constantly reflect on my practice in order to integrate proven innovations to achieve consistent and optimum results. I regularly audit my work.