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Anthony Rossi, Tina Claiborne and Jamie Fetter

Key Points ▸ Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes and occurs three times more often in athletes than in nonathletes. ▸ Physical exams, personal history, and family history alone may not be enough to identify risk factors. ▸ Of patients with SCD, 80% are

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Duncan Simpson and Lauren P. Elberty

Sudden death by nature is unexpected and unanticipated ( Futterman & Myerburg, 1998 ), often creating feelings of shock and disbelief ( Straub, 2001 ). As people are usually unprepared for such a traumatic experience ( Margola, Facchin, Molgora, & Revenson, 2010 ), they often do not know where to

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Anthony Rossi, Tina Claiborne and Jamie Fetter

standard of care. Research shows that 80% of patients who suffer sudden cardiac death are asymptomatic until cardiac arrest occurs. This may suggest that screening by history and physical examination alone is insufficient to identify athletes with life-threatening cardiac conditions. 10 The cardiac

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Christian C. Evans and Sandra L. Cassady

Objective:

To describe the underlying conditions that predispose athletes to sudden cardiac death (SCD) and review signs and symptoms that indicate an athlete is at risk.

Data Sources:

MEDLINE, the Los Angeles Times and Triathlon Times archives, and other sources identified in the references of articles initially located therein. A total of 43 references were included.

Conclusions:

Most cases of SCD in younger athletes (≤35 years) are attributable to multiple hereditary conditions, with familial hyper-trophic cardiomyopathy being the primary cause, whereas the major cause of SCD in older athletes (>35 years) is coronary artery disease. Health-care professionals evaluating athletes should pay particular attention to past medical and family history. Items in an athlete’s screening that suggest increased risk include a history of chest pain, syncope, excessive shortness of breath, irregular heart rate or murmur, or a history of SCD in an immediate family member.

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Thomas Terrell, John Pitt and Irfan Asif

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Robert L. Kronisch

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Julianna Shappy

Edited by Lindsey E. Eberman

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Column-editor : Robert I. Moss

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Malissa Martin, Suzanne M. Higgins, Eileen B. Radovan and Rachel P. Streff

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John Parsons and Elizabeth M. Swank