According to the leading Italian doctor, all Olympic athletes should have a heart screening in order to detect life-threatening conditions. 2.354 elite athletes were tested. 6 of them had a potentially fatal disorder. These findings were presented at a European Society of Cardiology meeting. After those tests, BHF (British Heart Foundation) announced that these results aren’t yet precise.
Heart screening is used to detect possible abnormalities that can cause sudden death. According to the BHF, these numbers are higher among elite athletes than in the general population. Every year, 1 of 100.000 athletes die because of this. Doctors still don’t know why this is happening, but some claim that excessive exercising put strain on the heart, causing it to enlarge. Also, doctors have problems predicting which athletes will be affected.
Dr Paulo Adami, from the Institute of Sport Medicine and Science of the Italian Olympic Committee, tested athletes that were participating in the Olympic Games from 2004 until 2014. Those tests included ECG, while they were resting and exercising and ultrasound of their hearts. 300 athletes had possible disorders. Also, 6 of them had life-threatening conditions. Because of them, those athletes cannot compete anymore.
165 athletes can continue competing, but they must have checks every year. 100 athletes had certain conditions that can lead to health problems in the future.
After the tests, Dr Adami announced that elite athletes need annual checks and they are in higher danger than the rest of the population. Heart screening must be applied to athletes regardless of the sport they compete. Dr Michael Knapton from the British Heart Foundation is hoping that heart screenings will be more than useful for athletes.