Talkback: Why athletes should get their hearts checked

2 messages
05/11/2019 at 21:49
Couldn't agree more. But I am a cardiologist.

When you are younger, then cardiac deaths tend to be due to inherited conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or long QT syndrome.

When you are older, then deaths tend to be due to coronary artery disease, so the screening that needs to take place varies with age.

During triathlons, however, when you die it's typically drowning or trauma when you fall off your bike.

And activity reduces your risk of death compared with inactivity (although there are concerns about extreme exertion). Sudden cardiac deaths during events are vanishingly rare (about 1:100,000). But not zero.

So that's why I do events (but have had a cardiac CT scan).
06/11/2019 at 02:01
I couldn't agree less, but then I'm a researcher in Cardiac Rehabilitation. The Canadian Cardiology Society and the American Heart Association have guidelines around "getting your heart checked"... and for the most part, the overall issue is more a comprehensive physical than a specific heart check. Reduce your modifiable risk factors - many are addressed by exercise - but remember that fitness is just one aspect of health.

The expense and risk of false positives (and false negatives) from stress ECG and/or stress CT/MRI/Echo outweigh the rare possibility of uncovering a true positive... for Americans, save your money. For the rest of us, make better choices about the appropriate use of your health care system.
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