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Rev Esp Cardiol. 2002 Apr;55(4):347-58.

[Causes of sudden death during sports activities in Spain].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

1
Sección de Histopatología, Instituto de Toxicología de Madrid, Ministerio de Justicia, Madrid, Spain. mp.suarez@mju.es

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES:

Sudden death during sports activities has a profound impact on relatives, society, and athletes. Medical screening programs usually fail to prevent sudden death. We report the characteristics of a series of sudden deaths that occurred during sports in Spain.

METHODS:

We reviewed cases of sudden death that occurred during sports activities from 1995 to 2001 in the registries of the Institute of Toxicology of Madrid, Spain (Ministry of Justice).

RESULTS:

The series included 61 cases ranging in age from 11 to 65 years (average 31.9 14.2), 59 males and 2 females. The sports most frequently involved were cycling (21), football (13), and gymnastics (5). The causes of death were atheromatous coronary disease: 25 (40.9%) (23 over 30 years); arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy: 10 (16.3%) (7 under 30 years); hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: 4 (6.5%); idiopathic left ventricular hypertrophy: 3 (4.9%); postmyocarditis myocardial fibrosis: 2 (3.2%); dilated cardiomyopathy: 1 (1.6%); congenital anomalies in the origin of the coronary arteries: 2 (3.2%); aortic valve disease: 2 (3.2%); and others: 2 (3.2%). In 10 cases (16.3%) (all under 30), the cause of death was undetermined. In 16 cases (26.2%) there was a known pathological antecedent. The disease responsible for death had been diagnosed in only three cases.

CONCLUSIONS:

Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy and severe left ventricular hypertrophy were the most common causes of sports-related death in persons under the age of 30. In 30% the cause of death was undetermined. Atheromatous coronary disease was prevalent over the age of 30 years and associated with cycling. Medical screening programs actually in use fail to detect a significant proportion of athletes at risk for sudden death.

PMID:
11975900
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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