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Table 1 Summary of the main clinical studies regarding SCD in athletes.

From: Sudden cardiac death athletes: a systematic review

Author and year Main findings
Germann et al, 2005 [2]. Most etiologies of SCD in athletes result in the same final common denominator (cardiac arrest) on presentation to an emergency physician. There are certain historic, physical examination, and electrocardiographic features of many of these disease processes that emergency physicians should have a working knowledge of to try to identify them before they result in SCD.
Corrado et al, 2006 [3]. The incidence of SCD in young competitive athletes has substantially declined in the Veneto region of Italy since the introduction of a nationwide systematic screening. Mortality reduction was predominantly due to a lower incidence of sudden death from cardiomyopathies that paralleled the increasing identification of athletes with cardiomyopathies at preparticipation screening.
Corrado et al, 2003 [15]. Sports activity in adolescents and young adults was associated with an increased risk of SCD, both in males and females. Sports was not a cause of the enhanced mortality, but it triggered SCD in those athletes who were affected by cardiovascular conditions predisposing to life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias during physical exercise
Maron et al, 1986 [46]. In most young competitive athletes (less than 35 years of age) sudden death is due to congenital cardiovascular disease. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy appears to be the most common cause of such deaths (about half of the sudden deaths in young athletes). Other cardiovascular abnormalities that appear to be less frequent but important causes of sudden death in young athletes include congenital coronary artery anomalies, ruptured aorta (due to cystic medial necrosis), idiopathic left ventricular hypertrophy and coronary artery atherosclerosis. Diseases that appear to be very uncommon causes of sudden death include myocarditis, mitral valve prolapse, aortic valve stenosis and sarcoidosis.
  1. SCD: Sudden Cardiac Deaths.