Cardiovascular Screening of Elite Athletes by Sporting Organizations in Australia: A Survey of Chief Medical Officers

Cardiovascular Screening of Elite Athletes by Sporting Organizations in Australia: A Survey of Chief Medical Officers.

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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Official URL:
Journal or Publication Title: Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine
Volume: 31
Number: 5
Page Range: pp. 401-406
Date: 1 September 2021
Divisions: Molecular Cardiology
Depositing User: General Admin
Identification Number: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000798
ISSN: 1050-642X
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2021 20:54

Objective: To compare cardiovascular screening policies of Australian elite sporting organizations.

Design: Online survey.

Setting: Elite/professional sports in Australia.

Participants: Chief medical officers (CMOs) of elite/professional sports in Australia, including rugby union and league, cricket, tennis, Australian football, and cycling.

Assessment of variables: Survey questions about each sport's cardiac screening policy: which screening components were included [eg, history and physical (H&P), resting 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG)], whether screening was mandatory, whether the policy applied to elite junior and/or adult players, and which criteria were used to interpret ECGs.

Main outcome measures: Which sports had a formal cardiac screening policy, which athletes the policy applied to, components of screening, ECG interpretation criteria used.

Results: Chief medical officers for 22/31 (71%) sports responded, representing >5000 athletes. Of these, 19/22 (86%) perform regular screening (100% H&P; 89% included ECG) with international cyclists also having routine echocardiograms and stress testing. Thirty-three percent of CMOs used the 2017 International Criteria for athlete ECG interpretation. Screening was mandatory with enforcement (26%), mandatory without enforcement (48%), and opt-out (26%). All screened adult elite athletes, and 68% screened junior elite athletes. Forty-two percent indicated athletes were required to pay for screening tests, and 63% required athletes to pay for follow-up tests. Almost all (94%) sports with a sports physician as the CMO screened athletes.

Conclusions: Most sports have a screening policy, with reasonable uniformity of components. All included H&P, and almost all included ECG. Only one sport included an echocardiogram and stress test as a standard (international players only). Promoting the latest ECG interpretation criteria may reduce false-positives and cost. Future work should explore cardiac emergency plans, screening infrastructure, cost, and long-term follow-up.

Copyright © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

Orchard, Jessica J.
Orchard, John W.
Toresdahl, Brett
Asif, Irfan M.
Hughes, David
La Gerche, Andre
Semsarian, Christopher
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2021 20:54

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