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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Call for sports heart problem research

Monday May 14th, 2012

Doctors lack basic knowledge about the sudden heart attacks that can have devastating effects on young athletes, such as the footballer Fabrice Muamba, experts warned today.

Pitch-side care has improved enabling Mr Muamba to survive the attack, which triggered an emotional reaction from football fans across the UK.

Mr Muamba collapsed in front of a stadium full of spectators at a crucial cup-tie between his team Bolton Wanderers and Spurs.

Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Dr Richard Weiler says screening programmes seem to be unable to identify all the players at risk. Athletes of African origin may be at increased risk, he says, because of the impact of sickle cell genes.

This was backed by evidence that heart patterns differed between athletes of European and of African origin.

Dr Weiler, of the UCL Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, London, UK, writes: "We still lack many answers to basic questions about these afflictions. We do not know the exact numbers and trends in prevalence or incidence, and do not understand the multiple causes that trigger sudden cardiac death in previously healthy athletes.

"It is vital that we start to answer these questions based on reliable science and evidence. To achieve this, we propose the collection and recording of reliable data across sport of every sudden cardiac death/arrest."

What can we do to reduce the number of tragic cardiac events in sport? British Journal of Sports Medicine May 14 2012; doi 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091252

Tags: Fitness | Heart Health | UK News

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