Sudden Cardiac Arrest

  • Clea Simone S. S. Colombo
  • Michael Papadakis
  • Nabil Ghorayeb


Sudden cardiac arrest is responsible for 50% of cardiovascular mortality; most occur during or shortly after exertion and progress to sudden cardiac death. Sudden cardiac death in sports is rare but more frequent than previously thought and represents a highly tragic event, especially when it affects young athletes. The causes of sudden cardiac death may be cardiac or noncardiac. Of the cardiac causes, inherited or congenital heart disease predominates in young athletes (<35 years) and coronary artery atherosclerosis in older ones (>35 years). The majority of the individuals are asymptomatic, without clinical or family history, and commonly sudden cardiac arrest is the first clinical manifestation of the disease. Preventative strategies such as pre-participation cardiovascular screening with an ECG offer the opportunity to identify young athletes at risk and provide appropriate treatment and exercise recommendations. However, cardiac screening remains controversial amidst concerns relating to false-positive results, lack of expertise and resources and cost-effectiveness. Another major preventative strategy is early recognition of a sudden cardiac arrest and provision of prompt emergency care. A well-established emergency plan, including personnel training with regular practice, aiming for the immediate initiation of chest compressions and early defibrillation is crucial to good outcomes.


Athletes Defibrillation Emergency response Pre-participation cardiovascular screening Sudden cardiac arrest Sudden cardiac death 


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Copyright information

© ISAKOS 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clea Simone S. S. Colombo
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michael Papadakis
    • 1
    • 4
  • Nabil Ghorayeb
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Cardiology Clinical Academic Group, St. George’s University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Ergometry, Exercise, Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiovascular Rehabilitation (DERC)Brazilian Society of Cardiology (SBC)Rio de JaneiroBrazil
  3. 3.Cuore Dello SportSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.European Section of Sports Cardiology and Exercise of the EAPCSophia Antipolis CedexFrance
  5. 5.Institute Dante Pazzanese of Cardiology—Universidade São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  6. 6.Heart Hospital (Hospital do Coração—HCor)São PauloBrazil

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