Pediatric Cardiology

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 407–416 | Cite as

Restricting Sports for Athletes With Heart Disease: Are We Saving Lives, Avoiding Lawsuits, or Just Promoting Obesity and Sedentary Living?

  • Marmar Vaseghi
  • Michael J. Ackerman
  • Ravi MandapatiEmail author
Review Article


Sudden cardiac death in young competitive athletes is tragic and usually due to unsuspected cardiovascular disease. Screening programs for athletes remain debatable, and restriction of athletes from sports can have physical, emotional, and legal ramifications. In this article, we review the epidemiology of the more common inherited arrhythmias and congenital heart diseases that are of concern in a newly diagnosed athlete. A comparison of the current American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology and European Society guidelines, which are primarily based on expert opinion due to lack of randomized studies, is then undertaken. Furthermore, certain legal repercussions associated with both qualifying and restricting athletes from competitive sports are discussed. Lastly, we urge physicians to keep in mind that disqualifying an athlete from competitive sports does not mean restriction of all activities, and even patients with inherited arrhythmias and congenital heart disease can participate in low to moderate activity complementary with a healthy lifestyle.


Sports Athletes Heart disease 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marmar Vaseghi
    • 1
  • Michael J. Ackerman
    • 3
  • Ravi Mandapati
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia CenterDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pediatric CardiologyLoma Linda University Medical CenterLoma LindaUSA
  3. 3.Divisions of Cardiovascular Diseases and Pediatric Cardiology, Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental TherapeuticsWindland Smith Rice Sudden Death Genomics Laboratory, Mayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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