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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2009 Jun;16(3):365-70. doi: 10.1097/HJR.0b013e3283291417.

Sports-related acute cardiovascular events in a general population: a French prospective study.

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Clinique du Sport Bordeaux-Mérignac, Mérignac, France.



The effects of physical exercise on the cardiovascular system are presented as a 'paradox' with beneficial effects and hazards. Most earlier studies were retrospective, were concerned with trained athletes, and focused on sudden death or myocardial infarction (MI). The aim of this study was to prospectively study the incidence and the causes of sports-related acute cardiovascular events in a general population.


This 1-year prospective study concerned three regions of the southwest of France. Four hospital medical emergency departments participated in the study, and collected all cases of sports-related acute cardiovascular events.


One hundred and twenty-seven sports-related cardiovascular events were collected. The mean age of the participants was 45.5 (14.6) years. Most of the events involved men (81.1%). Thus, global incidence of sports-related acute cardiovascular events was 6.5/100,000 participants/year and 10.8/100,000 men/year and 2.2/100,000 women/year, respectively. Forty sports-related deaths [49.0 (13.9) years old; 38 men], 47 sports-related nonlethal MI [52.8 (10.7) years old; 42 men], and 32 (21 men) sports-related cardiac arrhythmias (21 supraventricular, 10 men) were reported. Sports-related deaths and MI were most often observed in the 35-59-years-old men group (P = 0.01). Running, cycling, and swimming were mainly concerned.


In the general population studied, the absolute incidence of sport-related acute cardiovascular events comprised 6.5/100,000 participants/year. Sports-related MI and deaths, which were the two main causes of emergency calls, were significantly more frequent in middle-aged men. In all cases, except for sports-related supraventricular arrhythmias, men were significantly more involved than women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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