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Athletes and Arrhythmias


  • Dr. Link reports compensation for participation on a speaker's bureau relevant to this topic from Boston Scientific; he owns a patent on chest protectors to prevent commotio cordis. Dr. Estes: No disclosures.

  • Section Editor: Stephen C. Hammill, M.D.

Address for correspondence: Mark S. Link, M.D., Division of Medicine, Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA. Fax: 617-636-4586; E-mail:


Athletes and Arrhythmias. Athletes are thought the healthiest segment of the population. Yet, there is a general appearance that athletes are more prone to sudden cardiac death and arrhythmias than nonathletes. Bradycardias in athletes are nearly universal, but advanced heart block is usually pathologic. Athletes may be more prone to atrial fibrillation, but not likely to other types of supraventricular tachycardias. Sudden cardiac death in athletes is rare in the absence of heart disease, with the exception of commotio cordis. Treatment strategies for athletes are focused for the return to athletics. Guidelines for treatment will be derived from the 36th Bethesda Guidelines for athletes, and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines for athletes. (J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol, Vol. 21, pp. 1184-1189)