May 21, 2012

Should Young Athletes Be Screened for Heart Conditions?


University of Minnesota football player Gary Tinsley was found dead April 6 of a heart condition at the age of 22. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said he died of an enlarged heart.  Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes, but what factors contribute to this heightened risk in otherwise healthy individuals? Some physicians believe that mandatory EKG screening for young athletes is the key to saving lives, while others believe the screening is too costly and would do more harm than good....Mike Ackerman, cardiologist and professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, will also join the discussion.  "HCM [hypertrophic cardiomyopathy] is a death sentence to athletics," he said. "Right now guidelines say if you have this disease you're disqualified from all sports... It's a one-size-fits-all approach, we just say, 'you're disqualified.' We need to individualize the athlete, the risk, the disease."



Tags: Cardiology, enlarged heart, Gary Tinsley, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Mike Ackerman, MPR, University of Minnesota

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