Intensive Explores Cardiovascular Care of Athletes

Addressing the growing dynamic of cardiovascular care in athletes, ACC.15 is debuting a brand new intensive on sports and exercise.  Designed for general cardiologists, sports cardiologists, pediatric cardiologists, sports medicine physicians, advanced practice providers, and anyone whose work intersects with the care and evaluation of an athlete, the session places a spotlight on a previously overlooked corner of cardiovascular health and the difficult hurdles that must be overcome.

“From a cardiology standpoint, one of the biggest challenges is understanding the differences between athletic adaption and pathology,” says Michael Emery, MD, co-chair of the session, which will take place today from 10:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in room 3. “This is a relatively new field and we’re just starting to scratch the surface with research to understand these differences. We are still learning and researching more about sudden cardiac death in athletes.  We continue to refine protocols and work to develop registries to better delineate incidence of sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death along with the pathologies that play a role. The biggest progress that has been made over the years has been the availability of automated external defibrillators and the implementation of emergency action plans in athletic settings.”

Highlights include an interactive talk by Paul Thompson, MD, on “Reflections on Thirty-Five Years of Sports Cardiology,” and topics such as the eligibility and disqualification recommendations for competitive athletes with cardiovascular abnormalities, novel approaches to imaging, and case-based debates and discussion. “Our goals are research, education and awareness,” says Emery. “We still need more data to help us understand the interplay between physiology and pathology in these unique patients.  We need to educate clinicians about these differences including how to properly evaluate diagnostic criteria in the setting of athletic adaptation, counseling athletes and building public awareness of the role a sports cardiologist can play in the care of athletes.”  

Adhering to the conference’s overall push towards interactivity, the session will follow a more intimate experience, veering away from the more traditional lecture style towards a format with more discussions and group work, covering topics that are practical for practitioners in their day-to-day care of athletes. “The hope is that the Sports Cardiology Intensive will help close some of the educational gaps and provide clinicians with the tools to provide better cardiovascular care of athletes,” says Emery.  “We want to provide a better understanding of the complexity of caring for athletes, but with the necessary resources and tools to provide better, quality care.”

Clinical Topics: Arrhythmias and Clinical EP, Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Prevention, Sports and Exercise Cardiology, Implantable Devices, SCD/Ventricular Arrhythmias, Exercise

Keywords: Athletes, Cardiovascular Abnormalities, Counseling, Death, Sudden, Cardiac, Defibrillators, Exercise, Incidence, Registries, Sports Medicine, ACC Annual Scientific Session

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