Pre-Participation Sports Screening

Active participation in sports is recognised to be beneficial to the  health and well being of individuals. Regular exercise can lead to a reduction in risk of:

Coronary artery disease
Bowel disease
Breast cancer

Unfortunately, there is a small increased risk of sudden death in young adults undertaking competitive sports, the leading cause of which is heart disease (90%). The risk of sudden cardiac death is approximately 2.5 times higher in athletes compared to non athletes. Although rare, it is estimated that the  annual incidence of sudden cardiac death is between 1/20,000 and 1/300,000.

The commonest cause of heart problems is coronary artery disease which typically occurs in middle age and above. It is more common in smokers, those who suffer with diabetes, hypertension or hyperchlestolaemia. In younger athletes, there is a a wider range of potential problems including cardiomyopathies (heart muscle disease), arrhythmia (heart rhythm problems) and congenital heart disease.

Fortunately, the majority of these abnormalities can be picked up and diagnosed by a careful screening of a athletes medical and family history and a ECG (heart tracing). In selected athletes further testing with exercise ECG, echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) and 24 hour ECG monitoring may be advised. In one of the largest reviews of pre-participation screening in Italy, the programme led to a 90% reduction in sudden cardiac death in young athletes. 

Dr Timperley is able to undertake screening in accordance with the recommendations from the European Society of Cardiology, American Heart Association and the International Olympic Committee.