Global summit takes aim at sudden heart death in athletes
Top sports-cardiology and -medicine physicians are meeting this weekend in Seattle to discuss efforts to improve cardiac safety in athletes.
The conference is driven by the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Center.
Speakers hope to reach consensus on recommended scientific standards for interpreting electrocardiograms (ECG), the diagnostic test most often used to assess the electrical and muscular functions of the heart.
“Physicians responsible for the cardiovascular care of athletes must be guided by interpretation standards that distinguish normal ECG findings in athletes from ECG abnormalities requiring additional evaluation for conditions associated with sudden cardiac death,” said Jonathan Drezner, who directs UW Medicine's Center for Sports Cardiology and is a team physician for the University of Washington Huskies and Seattle Seahawks. He will chair the meeting.
“We all want athletes to be safe during sports participation. Ideally, these standards, combined with greater physician education, will improve disease detection and limit false-positive results," said Drezner.
His 2014 research showed that the incidence of sudden cardiac arrest among athletes may be 1 in 50,000 — four times higher than the most frequently cited estimate of 1 in 200,000.
The 2012 ECG Summit yielded four consensus papers and the launch of the educational modules. To date, physicians from 117 countries have completed more than 13,000 modules, collectively.
This year's summit is also being supported by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.