Figures show that one young athlete dies every three days from an unrecognized heart problem in the United States alone, Italian researchers report. They suggest mandatory heart screenings for all athletes could detect potentially fatal problems and save lives.
British Medical Journal suggest that a family history and physical exam may miss many undiagnosed heart problems.
How the study was done
For their study, Sofi and colleagues analyzed data from more than 30 000 heart screenings during a five year period between 2002 and 2006. Italy is the only country where these tests are mandatory, Sofi added.
Experts differ on findings
Not everyone agrees. The American Heart Association in 2007 reaffirmed their recommendation against universal use of electrocardiography, citing cost, low prevalence of disease and a high false positive rate.
Heart attacks in atheletes studied
Concern for athletes at Olympics