It is increasingly common to see young athletes on television in soccer games, marathons, where they have suffered sudden death, and this makes us think that a Stress test is not enough to rule out if there is a heart problem, so we have talked to Cristian Gabriel Casseus to tell us the best option to rule out a heart problem.
Cristian Gabriel Casseus, Cardiologist, specialized in cardiovascular imaging and sports cardiology, is currently a cardiologist in charge of the Sports Medicine Unit of Reebok Sport Club from Madrid, in addition to being the sports cardiologist in Mallorca Sport Medicine of the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital in Palma de Mallorca and the Juaneda Sport in Rafa Nadal Sport Center.
What is an ultrasound of the heart?
La Echocardiography It is the study by which we see the heart inside, its walls, its shape, its power of contraction, as well as its size and the correct functioning of its valves.
It is the most suitable study for rule out the main causes of sudden cardiac death in athletes under 40 years of age.
When should we have an ultrasound of the heart?
In the particular case of triathletes and many other sports, the most important thing is visually discard any involvement that could favor a serious event, rule out hereditary affectations, as a first point, and as secondary and also relevant data, evaluate the changes that sport causes in your heart.
From what age do we have to “worry”?
Al end of adolescence It is the ideal time to perform an Echocardiogram depending also on the family and personal history of the athlete, the intensity of the sport performed.
This was recently corroborated by a detailed study by the Catalan sports council, headed by Dr. Gonzalo Grazioli, showing that in terms of complementary studies, the Electrocardiogram and the Echocardiogram are the most suitable in order to avoid sudden death in adolescent, federated athletes. And it was also more cost-effective than a simple or concise assessment.
The electrocardiogram added to a clinical evaluation, would be ideal at the beginning of adolescence, where sport begins to be more intense.
How often should we do an ultrasound of the heart?
Depending on the intensity level, the most recommended is once a year. Annual ITV.
After an initial evaluation at the end of adolescence, from the age of 25-30 onwards, if the sport is practiced at moderate-high intensity levels at a rate of more than 4 times per week.
Are there changes in the heart as the years go by?
Yes, and especially if we play sports.
What is a stress echo?
It is a very interesting question. This type of Stress echocardiography they let us assess heart function during the same exercise, being this not only assessed by the classic EKG of the Stress Test, but also by the evaluation of the movement and functioning of the walls and valves of the heart by means of the Echocardiogram.
This allows us something very important, which is increase the diagnostic accuracy of the conventional Stress Test to 85%, especially aimed at assessing the disease of the arteries of the heart. Almost 30% more diagnostic accuracy than the classic stress test.
Did you know that 1 out of 6 conventional cardiology stress tests that have a normal result may not be?
It is because of that this test would be more geared towards older athletes or veterans, or with a cardiovascular risk factor. This allows both the athlete and their coach to train more safely despite high effort loads. Other interesting indications of this test would include evaluating the performance in athletes with some cardiac involvement.
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