"Sudden death" in otherwise seemingly healthy athletes is a rare event but still something we hear about on occasion. The culprit for athletes under the age of 35 is usually a thickened or enlarged left ventricle of the heart a.k.a Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy (HOCM). This is a "hidden" cardiovascular disease that is mainly triggered by rigorous exercise. Unfortunately, the first symptom of this disease is usually death. Athletic sudden death is 5-9 times more common in men than women.
There is a need for development of cost effective cardiac screening programs to evaluate athletes prior to them participating in any physically demanding sport. Currently, routine sports physicals do not address this need. Many European countries already employ routine cardiac screening for young athletes prior to them participating in sports.
A simple limited resting echocardiogram is very effective at diagnosing HOCM and can be done at a very low cost. If an abnormality is detected, the athlete can be referred for further evaluation or a more complete comprehensive echocardiogram.
Mobile Life Imaging based in Fargo,North Dakota provides low cost limited echocardiogram exams to rule out HOCM in young athletes. These exams can be done in-house or at any of our mobile sites. Call 888.602.8378 for more information.