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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 September;57(9):1211-6

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06455-0


language: English

Prevalence of electrocardiographic abnormalities in young, elite Japanese athletes

Kazuto OMIYA 1 , Tomomi SUZUKI 1, Norio SUZUKI 1, Takanobu MITARAI 1, Manabu TAKAI 1, Emi NAKANO 1, Hisao MATSUDA 1, Haruki MUSHA 2

1 Department of Cardiology, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, Yokohama City Seibu Hospital, Yokohama, Japan; 2 Department of Sports Medicine, St. Marianna University School of Medicine, Kawasaki, Japan


BACKGROUND: The question as to whether or not electrocardiogram (ECG) evaluations should be performed in all athletes is still controversial. So, in this study, the prevalence of electrocardiographic abnormalities was evaluated in young, elite Japanese athletes.
METHODS: Subjects included 174 male and 101 female Japanese athletes (mean age, 21.5 years). Sports activities included baseball, basketball, diving, fencing, gymnastics, judo, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and water polo. A 12-lead resting ECG was recorded and evaluated. We used the criteria for distinctly abnormal ECG patterns as defined by Pelliccia et al. Subjects were divided into 2 groups on the basis of their exercise training type: an endurance training group and a static training group.
RESULTS: Twenty six of 174 male subjects (14.9%) and 11 of 101 (10.9%) female subjects presented with abnormal ECG results. ECG abnormalities were observed much more frequently in track athletes compared to athletes of other sporting events. Field players did not present with any ECG abnormalities. Overall, the incidences of ECG abnormalities were statistically lower in the static exercise training group than in the endurance training group both in male and female. High voltage of left ventricle was observed in 114 of 175 male subjects (65.1%), and 27 of 101 female subjects (26.7%).
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of ECG abnormalities in young, elite, Japanese athletes was comparable to that previously reported by both Western and Asian investigators.

KEY WORDS: Electrocardiography - Athletes - Japan - Physical education and training - Brugada Syndrome

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