Olympians should face tests for hidden heart problems

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London, Sep 14 (ANI): Athletes who participate in worldwide sports events like the Olympics should be screened for hidden heart problems - and potential disqualification if any are detected, claims a collection of studies, one of which was conducted by an Indian origin researcher.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) ordered to conduct the studies into the practicality and effectiveness of such tests.

There have been a number of seemingly healthy athletes, who have dropped dead from "sudden cardiac death", including the Spanish footballer Antonio Puerta two years ago and British rower Scott Rennie in March this year.

Many of the heart problems that trigger such deaths can be detected through physical examination, electrocardiograms and by taking a medical history, as laid out in the "Lausanne recommendations" created under the auspices of the European Society of Cardiology.

The new studies have indicated that implementing these recommendations can help save lives.

In one such study, researchers applied the protocol to 371 Dutch athletes aged 12 to 35 over two years.

Of the 55 who were referred for additional testing, 10 had an underlying cardiovascular problem, and three were restricted from further participation in sport

"Everybody who plays sports needs to be aware that there are certain conditions that may be silent, that could result in a fatality," New Scientist quoted Sanjay Sharma, a cardiologist at King's College Hospital in London, who led one of the studies, as saying.

The study has been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. (ANI)

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