7 doctors weighed in:

What is the cause of sudden death in elite athletes?

7 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Chen
Sports Medicine
4 doctors agree

In brief: Thickened heart

The most common cause of sudden death in elite athletes in the US is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
This is a rare condition of the actual muscle of the heart becoming so large and thick as to obstruct outgoing blood flow. Because outgoing flow is reduced the heart must work even harder to pump blood to supply oxygen to the body.

In brief: Thickened heart

The most common cause of sudden death in elite athletes in the US is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
This is a rare condition of the actual muscle of the heart becoming so large and thick as to obstruct outgoing blood flow. Because outgoing flow is reduced the heart must work even harder to pump blood to supply oxygen to the body.
Dr. James Chen
Dr. James Chen
Thank
2 comments
Dr. Ed Friedlander
I have a special interest in this, and for the USA, Dr. Chen is correct. There are a variety of other molecular and anatomic birth defects involving the heart. Sadly, cocaine's killed too many athletes, as has neglecting common-sense safety in the heat. An athlete with known heart disease or sickle trait may still play the sport he/she loves, acknowledging the risks.
Dr. Volkan Tuzcu
Bottomline is that most common cause is a significant cardiac arrhythmia even in cardiomyopathy cases
Dr. Naresh Rao
Sports Medicine

In brief: Depends

Sudden death in elite athletes can include a genetic disorder that causes premature clogging of arteries, abnormal heart rhythm or structure, severe dehydration with or without electrolyte imbalance, heat illness, and accidents.

In brief: Depends

Sudden death in elite athletes can include a genetic disorder that causes premature clogging of arteries, abnormal heart rhythm or structure, severe dehydration with or without electrolyte imbalance, heat illness, and accidents.
Dr. Naresh Rao
Dr. Naresh Rao
Thank
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