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Common cardiovascular issues in athletes - from pre-participation screening to CV emergency management

By Dr. Gary Mak

Regular Endurance training leads to Cardiovascular adaptive changes in terms of enhanced vagal modulation and chamber hypertrophy. This is commonly referred as Athlete's heart syndrome. Clinical implications and their patho-physiologically changes are explained with case illustrations. People participate in exercise are also exposed to increased risk of sudden cardiac death. The common causes cardiac death in the younger athletes are mostly related to congenital disorder while coronary heart disease are the major causes cardiac sudden death in those older than 35 years old. Pre-participation screening in the younger athletes should include detail personal and family history, detail heart examination and a resting ECG. Exercise stress test should be performed for the older athletes, those with symptoms and multiple risk factors if they intend to engage in moderate or vigorous exercise. Cardiac emergency are infrequent. However, a rapid response with persons trained with CPR and access to AED are essential to save life.

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