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BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2018 Aug 9;4(1):e000370. doi: 10.1136/bmjsem-2018-000370. eCollection 2018.

Assessment of cardiovascular risk and preparticipation screening protocols in masters athletes: the Masters Athlete Screening Study (MASS): a cross-sectional study.

Author information

1
Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
2
SportsCardiologyBC, Division of Cardiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
3
Division of Cardiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
4
Healthcare Policy and Research, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, New York, USA.
5
Division of Sports Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
6
Children's Heart Centre, BC Children's Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
7
School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract

Background:

Underlying coronary artery disease (CAD) is the primary cause of sudden cardiac death in masters athletes (>35 years). Preparticipation screening may detect cardiovascular disease; however, the optimal screening method is undefined in this population. The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire for Everyone (PAR-Q+) and the American Heart Association (AHA) Preparticipation Screening Questionnaire are often currently used; however, a more comprehensive risk assessment may be required. We sought to ascertain the cardiovascular risk and to assess the effectiveness of screening tools in masters athletes.

Methods:

This cross-sectional study performed preparticipation screening on masters athletes, which included an ECG, the AHA 14-element recommendations and Framingham Risk Score (FRS). If the preparticipation screening was abnormal, further evaluations were performed. The effectiveness of the screening tools was determined by their positive predictive value (PPV).

Results:

798 athletes were included in the preparticipation screening analysis (62.7% male, 54.6±9.5 years, range 35-81). The metabolic equivalent task hours per week was 80.8±44.0, and the average physical activity experience was 35.1±14.8 years. Sixty-four per cent underwent additional evaluations. Cardiovascular disease was detected in 11.4%, with CAD (7.9%) being the most common diagnosis. High FRS (>20%) was seen in 8.5% of the study population. Ten athletes were diagnosed with significant CAD; 90% were asymptomatic. A high FRS was most indicative of underlying CAD (PPV 38.2%).

Conclusion:

Masters athletes are not immune to elevated cardiovascular risk and cardiovascular disease. Comprehensive preparticipation screening including an ECG and FRS can detect cardiovascular disease. An exercise stress test should be considered in those with risk factors, regardless of fitness level.

KEYWORDS:

aging; athlete; cardiology prevention; cardiovascular; sports

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