Athletic Pre-Participation Exam (PPE)

The sudden death of a young athlete is always a tragic event. It has an enormous impact on the public and the media because it usually concerns people who are considered to be absolutely healthy and are often role – models.

Despite the well-known benefits of exercise many such cases have been reported among individuals who participate in high performance physical activity (football, basketball etc.). There are indications that intense exercise can trigger mechanisms that lead to sudden death during or after the end of the activity.

In individuals younger than 35 years old the most frequent diseases that lead to sudden death during physical activity are Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and congenital abnormalities of the coronary vessels. Other less frequent causes are myocarditis, arrhythmiogenic dysplasia of the Right ventricle, preexcitation syndromes , various congenital heart diseases etc. In those who are older than 35 years old, coronary artery disease is the primary cause of death during exercise.

Almost 30% of the cases of sudden cardiac death cannot be traced by medical pre-participation exam. However,  some of them are likely to have  warning symptoms (syncope, faint, thoracic pain among others) during exercise .Therefore we should be extremely vigilant.

In 2005 the Working group of Athletic Cardiology of the European Society of Cardiology  published  Guidelines  about the athletic pre-participation exam. The conclusion was that apart from close examination of the personal and familial history of the individual, we must perform a detailed physical exam and an ECG to everyone. Depending on the findings the best complementary exam is Echocardiography. If there are no findings they recommend the repetition of the exam every 1 or 2 years.

We have been performing PPEs to young children, who participate in intense physical activities, for many years and we are equipped with high technology equipment. Therefore we are in a position to guarantee you the best results possible.