Heart screening should be made compulsory to elite athletes to check for life threatening conditions

Not a few athletes  while competing in their chosen fields have suddenly collapsed and died on their way to the hospital while being transported by medics in an ambulance. Perfect external physical appearance may not translate to what is found inside the body involving the vital organs especially the heart.

Athletes have toned forms and sinewy muscles, giving them an appearance of health and vitality.  But unbeknownst to them, an imminent danger may be stalking them.

Olympic athletes should be checked for life-threatening conditions before they are allowed to compete, says an Italian leading doctor.

2,354 elite athletes were tested and  he discovered six had potential fatal disorders which disqualify them from taking part in the competition.

Dr Paulo Adami of the Institute of Sport Medicine and Science of the Italian Olympic Committee, observed athletes qualified for Olympic games from 2004 to 2014.

However, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said at the moment, screening is not yet accurate enough to be conducted routinely.

Screening of the heart is intended to detect abnormalities which may lead to risk of sudden death.

Though it is rare, but the BHF said it is more common in athletes compared to the general population. Statistics state that 1 in 2 for every 100,000 athletes die to this cause each year.

No one is absolutely sure why this amplified risk exists, though some experts say it may be due to extensive exercise which can sometimes strain the heart muscles, which causes enlargement of the heart.

ECG tests were conducted, at rest and while doing exercise and their hearts with scanning by ultrasound.

Worrying signs in 300 athletes were picked up.

Six potential life-threatening conditions were seen rendering the athletes unfit to compete.

And another 165 were allowed to continue their career with the condition to do annual checks.

BHF says people need  to be made aware of what to do if a cardiac arrest situation is witnessed in a public space.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR, involves chest compression with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to restart the heart in some cases.

Image: http://www.independent.co.uk/

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32753907

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