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Ann Intern Med. 2006 Oct 3;145(7):507-11.

Brief communication: Cardiovascular screening practices of major North American professional sports teams.

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Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407, USA.



Customary preparticipation screening strategies to detect heart disease in professional athletes have not been examined systematically.


To describe the current preparticipation cardiovascular screening process for professional athletes.


Screening practices surveyed by questionnaire.


The 122 major professional sports teams in North America.


Athletic trainers and team physicians.


League recommendations for history taking and physical examination and noninvasive testing were compared with screening recommendations from an American Heart Association consensus panel.


All 122 teams have team physicians perform annual screening, including family and personal history taking (100%), physical examination (100%), and lipid panels (108 of 122 [89%]). Diagnostic testing by using electrocardiography was substantially more common (112 of 122 [92%]) than exercise testing and stress echocardiography (21 of 122 [17%]) or echocardiography (16 of 122 [13%]). League recommendations for history taking and physical examination were most complete for Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, meeting 10 of 12 and 8 of 12 American Heart Association recommendations, respectively. The most comprehensive cardiovascular screening using echocardiography is confined to selected, elite professional basketball players.


Data were self-reported by team representatives.


A variety of nonstandardized preparticipation screening strategies for the detection of cardiovascular disease, varying considerably in scope, constitute customary practice among professional sports teams.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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