Male Basketball Players With LVH Most At Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Death Interview with:
Headshot portrait of Dr. Kim Harmon, family medicine, sports medicine.Kimberly G. Harmon, MD

University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195. What is the background for this study?

Response: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in a young athlete is tragic devastating families and communities.  It has been characterized as “rare” by some, however, previous studies have looked at broad age ranges of athletes and used various methods to determine the incidence rate, sometimes only including athletes which have events during school sponsored events.  In addition, many studies only look at sudden cardiac death and do not include sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) where the athlete has a cardiac arrest but is resuscitated and survives. SCA is important to include as ideally we would like to prevent both SCA and SCD in athletes.  In this paper, over 1/3 of all US high school athletes were studied for six years to determine the incidence and the causes of SCA/D.   Media reports were used to identify cases and then autopsies were obtained in those who died. What are the main findings?

Response: This study found that there was a rate of SCA/D of 1 in 67,064 athlete-years and 1 in 44,832 athlete-years in male athletes; also male basketball athletes were at highest risk.  This study also found that the most common finding after death was left ventricular hypertrophy. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: SCA/D is more common than previously thought.   Males, and in particular male basketball athletes are at highest risk. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Research on incidence in area with MANDATORY reporting needs to be conducted and specialized autopsy with genetic testing should be performed to better define causes of death. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This study highlights the need for more advanced cardiovascular screening in high-risk populations as well as the importance of the availability of automatic external defibrillators and emergency action plans at athletic facilities. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Incidence and Etiology of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Death in High School Athletes in the United States Harmon, Kimberly G. et al.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]