Multimodality Cardiovascular Imaging in Young Adult Competitive Athletes
Patient Guideline Summary
Publication Date: May 1, 2020
This patient summary means to discuss key recommendations from the American Society of Echocardiography in Collaboration with the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance for Multimodality Cardiovascular Imaging in Young Adult Competitive Athletes.
- Young athletes occasionally die suddenly when performing their sport.
- Early symptoms or suggestive family history may indicate a risk of sudden death in such individuals.
- Symptoms include chest discomfort or difficult breathing on exertion, fainting, and collapsing during exercise.
- Known causes for sudden death in young athletes include many congenital (present at birth) and acquired conditions that can be identified by medical imaging.
- This patient summary focuses on evaluating young athletes suspected of being at risk for sudden death.
- Imaging methods include:
- Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) – ultrasound of the chest
- Cardiac computed tomography angiography (CCTA) –using dye to visualize coronary (heart) arteries
- Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR)
- Possible conditions that raise the risk of sudden death:
- Genetic conditions of the heart muscle, valves, electrical system, and coronary arteries
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (abnormal enlargement of certain parts of the heart)
- Acquired diseases: myocarditis, rhythm disturbances, toxic cardiomyopathy attributable to illicit performance-enhancing drugs
- The hearts of competitive athletes favorably remodel due to the intense conditioning athletes undergo. Distinguishing these changes from abnormalities requires special expertise.
- CCTA: Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography
- CMR: Cardiac Magnetic Resonance
- TTE: Transthoracic Echocardiography
Baggish AL, Battle RW, Beaver TA, Border WL, Douglas PS, Kramer CM, Martinez MW, Mercandetti JH, Phelan D, Singh TK, Weiner RB, Williamson E. Recommendations on the Use of Multimodality Cardiovascular Imaging in Young Adult Competitive Athletes: A Report from the American Society of Echocardiography in Collaboration with the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2020 May;33(5):523-549. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2020.02.009. PMID: 32362332.
The information in this patient summary should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.