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The 8th IOC Course on Cardiovascular Evaluation of Olympic Athletes
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The sudden and unexpected cardiac death is a rare, but tragic and emotional event, which assumes high visibility when occurs in an elite/professional athlete. Unavoidably, this event raises several medical and legal questions, including the most appropriate strategy to prevent these catastrophes.
The IOC approached this issue in a previous document (see: Ljungqvist A, et al. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Consensus Statement on periodic health evaluation of elite athletes March 2009. Br J Sports Med. 2009 Sep;43(9):631-43), where the rationale and methods for cardiovascular (CV) evaluation of the athletes were extensively described.
The CV evaluation including the 12-lead electrocardiogram, as suggested by the IOC statement, has the power to identify (or raise suspicion for) most of the cardiac disease at risk. The ECG, however, may also show certain abnormalities in athletes, which mimic those of patients with cardiac diseases, generating concern regarding the appropriate management of the athlete. In these cases, the abnormal ECG conveys the indication for additional testing, such as echocardiography and/or cardiac magnetic resonance, to confirm or exclude the presence of a disease.
Therefore, the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission has planned the present Course of Cardiovascular evaluation of the athletes with the aim to provide team physicians and consultant cardiologists with the most updated scientific and practical information relative to the appropriate methods for evaluating athletes. Particular attention will be spent on the appropriate interpretation of the ECG observable in athletes, as well as the correct indication for additional diagnostic testing, when needed.
The 2018 program is intended to teach team physicians and consultant cardiologists with a short, comprehensive scientific update relative to the most challenging cardiac diagnoses and reserve a large part to practical sessions, where the experts will help delegates to interpret the results of the common diagnostic testing, including the 12-lead ECG, the exercise ECG testing, the echocardiography and eventually, cardiac magnetic resonance.