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01-02-2018 | Point of View | Uitgave 3/2018 Open Access

Netherlands Heart Journal 3/2018

Pre-participation screening of asymptomatic athletes

“Don’t do stupid stuff”

Netherlands Heart Journal > Uitgave 3/2018
A. Mosterd


Catastrophic events, be it traffic accidents, natural disasters or homicides, always lead to scrutiny. Could we have seen the event coming and could it have been prevented? In the case of a sudden cardiac arrest of a seemingly healthy athlete the public outcry is not any different. Despite an intrinsic appeal for screening to prevent similar events, there is no evidence that justifies routine cardiovascular pre-participation screening of athletes. On balance, cardiovascular screening in athletes will most likely do more harm than good. Fatal exercise-related cardiac arrests do not occur very often. The true diagnostic yield of the pre-participation evaluation is not known and once a cardiac condition has been identified, the most appropriate intervention is often unclear. It follows that pre-participation screening of large groups of athletes without known cardiac disease will inevitably result in many false positive findings, while at the same time providing a false sense of security to those screened negative. Except for compelling reasons (e. g. cascade screening, research settings, professional athletes), physicians should not engage in routine examination of asymptomatic athletes to prevent cardiac events.

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Netherlands Heart Journal

Het Netherlands Heart Journal wordt uitgegeven in samenwerking met de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Cardiologie en de Nederlandse Hartstichting. Het tijdschrift is Engelstalig en wordt gratis beschikbaa ...

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