-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, April 5 (HealthDay News) -- Sudden cardiac death kills
more young athletes in the United States than previously estimated,
according to a new study.
An analysis of news reports, insurance claims and data from the
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) revealed that one
in 43,770 NCAA athletes suffer sudden cardiac death each year, said
the researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle.
The investigators tracked deaths from 2004 to 2008 and found
that there were 273 deaths from all causes, including: 187 deaths
(68 percent) from non-medical/traumatic causes; 80 deaths (29
percent) from medical causes; and six deaths (2 percent) from
The deaths from medical causes included 45 athletes (56 percent)
who suffered cardiovascular-related sudden death. Of the 36 deaths
that occurred during or shortly after physical activity, 27 (75
percent) were related to cardiac causes, according to the study
published in the April 4 online issue of the journal
The study also found that:
About 400,000 students, ages 17 to 23, participate in NCAA
sports each year. Sports training and competition can increase the
risk of sudden cardiac death in people with underlying heart
disease, according to the American Heart Association.
The researchers said their findings could influence health
screening guidelines for young people in organized sports.
"The American Heart Association regards cardiovascular screening for athletes as an important public health issue, for which there are compelling ethical, legal and medical grounds," Dr. Ralph L. Sacco, president of the American Heart Association, said in a journal news release.
"We strongly encourage student-athletes and other participants in organized competitive sports to be screened with a careful history, including family history, and thorough physical examination. The American Heart Association also believes health care professionals providing the screening should be able to order noninvasive testing when they judge it is needed," Sacco added.
Parent Heart Watch has more about
cardiac arrest/death in young people.
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