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Perspectives

Sudden cardiac death in the athlete

Justin Ghosh, Michael J Kilborn

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Abstract

Physiological stress may trigger fatal cardiac events in athletes with an unknown cardiac condition.

Key Points

  • The presence of exertional symptoms such as syncope, chest pain or palpitations should trigger referral of the patient for specialist assessment.
  • Apparent good health and exercise capacity provide no reassurance regarding potentially serious inheritable conditions.
  • Life-saving treatments such as implantable defibrillators, catheter ablations and medications are available and appropriate for people at high or moderate risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

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