Author(s): SurezMier MP, Aguilera B
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Abstract INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Sudden death during sports activities has a profound impact on relatives, society, and athletes. Medical screening programs usually fail to prevent sudden death. We report the characteristics of a series of sudden deaths that occurred during sports in Spain. METHODS: We reviewed cases of sudden death that occurred during sports activities from 1995 to 2001 in the registries of the Institute of Toxicology of Madrid, Spain (Ministry of Justice). RESULTS: The series included 61 cases ranging in age from 11 to 65 years (average 31.9 14.2), 59 males and 2 females. The sports most frequently involved were cycling (21), football (13), and gymnastics (5). The causes of death were atheromatous coronary disease: 25 (40.9\%) (23 over 30 years); arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy: 10 (16.3\%) (7 under 30 years); hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: 4 (6.5\%); idiopathic left ventricular hypertrophy: 3 (4.9\%); postmyocarditis myocardial fibrosis: 2 (3.2\%); dilated cardiomyopathy: 1 (1.6\%); congenital anomalies in the origin of the coronary arteries: 2 (3.2\%); aortic valve disease: 2 (3.2\%); and others: 2 (3.2\%). In 10 cases (16.3\%) (all under 30), the cause of death was undetermined. In 16 cases (26.2\%) there was a known pathological antecedent. The disease responsible for death had been diagnosed in only three cases. CONCLUSIONS: Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy and severe left ventricular hypertrophy were the most common causes of sports-related death in persons under the age of 30. In 30\% the cause of death was undetermined. Atheromatous coronary disease was prevalent over the age of 30 years and associated with cycling. Medical screening programs actually in use fail to detect a significant proportion of athletes at risk for sudden death.
This article was published in Rev Esp Cardiol
and referenced in Emergency Medicine: Open Access