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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2002 June;55(2):95-9

language: Italian

Disorders of cardiac rhythm in the athletes: diagnostic and prognostic features

Giada F. 1, Conte R. 2, De Piccoli B. 1, Raviele A. 1

1 Unità Operativa di Cardiologia, Ospedale Umberto I, Venezia-Mestre;
2 Centro di Medicina dello Sport, CONI-FMSI, Venezia


The disorders of the cardiac rhythm are frequent in the athletes. Some types of arrhythmias such as the bradiarrhythmias, are more common in the athletes than in sedentary subjects. The frequency with which arrhythmic phenomena are detected in the athletic population depends largely on the age of the studied subjects and on the type of examination used.
The interest in the arrhythmias detected in the athletes stems from the risk that these arrhythmias might determine unexpected cardiac arrest and sudden death during sports activity. Arrhythmias detected in the atlethes are generally benign and rarely require therapy. However, they may sometimes represent a sign of heart disease that represents itself a cause of restriction in the participation in sport activities. The evaluation of athletes with arrhythmias will necessarily involve the collection of anamnestic data, a careful physical examination and some specific instrumental examinations.
It is not always easy to distinguish the athlete with physiological arrhythmias from that one with malignant arrhythmias. Indeed, we must find the right equilibrium in order to safeguard the athletes against the risk of sudden death and traumatic events due to a disturbance of cardiac rhythm, without excluding otherwise healthy subjects from the competitions.

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