5 November 2012
Cardiology has been pushed up the sports agenda this year, with high profile stars undergoing treatment, and Spire Southampton Hospital are raising awareness of the risks of cardiovascular disease, starting with a cardiac screening demonstration event.
Bolton player Fabrice Muamba caused widespread concern when he collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup match in March this year with a cardiac arrest and the Norwegian world 100m breaststroke champion Alexander Dale Oen sadly died from a cardiac arrest in April.
Specialist Cardiology Manager Steve Robinson manages the cardiac screening service at Spire Southampton Hospital and said, “Exercise is good for you and your heart, but there is an increasing awareness of heart disease that can be triggered by sport. It’s incredibly difficult to predict this in individuals who have no symptoms and exercise regularly. Heart screening can provide reassurance and help identify any abnormality that has been undetected. The numbers affected are very small, but identifying just one makes this worthwhile”
The Bodysound gym in Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, hosted an event for members on October 15, where attendees learned about the tests and what information they provide. The screening equipment is mobile and can easily be taken to sports clubs, gyms or wherever it’s required, making it a convenient option for groups or teams.
Candidates first answer a series of questions that assess their level of fitness, previous medical issues and family history, as well as a brief physical examination. They then have an electrocardiogram (ECG) and an echocardiogram (echo scan) of the heart.
The ECG is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. This shows the heart’s rhythm and can identify a possible abnormality, which with further testing can ascertain the potential risk of a cardiac arrest.
The echo scan transmits high frequency sound waves into your chest that bounce back and give accurate pictures of the structure of the heart, including the chambers and valves. It highlights any structural abnormalities that can then be further assessed.
Steve continued, “Earlier this year we were all shocked to see Fabrice Muamba collapse on the football pitch from a cardiac arrest. Predicting a cardiac arrest is extremely difficult in sports individuals as they usually have no symptoms, but performing at such high intensity puts them at a greater risk of a cardiac event. Dizzy spells, chest pains and black outs are all indicators that a heart assessment with your GP is required. Risks that are identified may require further tests to assess the risk of a future cardiac event and there are treatments available for those who are at a higher risk. We hope that our screening service will raise awareness and give people who participate in sport the option to feel more assured for the future.”