News | ECG | December 08, 2017

ECG Study of NBA Players Shows Need for Sport-Specific Normative Data and Guidelines

Results indicate that current International Criteria find higher rate of false-positive results among NBA athletes

ECG Study of NBA Players Shows Need for Sport-Specific Normative Data and Guidelines

December 8, 2017 — Cardiologists at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center compared electrocardiographic findings among National Basketball Association (NBA) athletes with other published athlete groups in a new study. The study builds on prior research that established the first large-scale normative cardiac dataset for basketball players (and athletes of similar size as elite basketball players). Results from the new study demonstrated the criteria used to identify athletes at risk for exercise-triggered sudden cardiac death, known as the International Criteria, find a higher rate of false-positive results among NBA athletes. The results indicate a need for additional sport-specific guidelines to differentiate expected cardiac changes from abnormalities.

The findings were published on Dec. 6 in JAMA Cardiology.

“Elite basketball players, like other elite athletes, are known to develop heart muscle changes over time related to intensive athletic training,” said David J. Engel, M.D., a sports cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, associate professor of medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the study’s senior author. “But, there has not previously been a study that specifically analyzes ECG changes in this athlete group."

In the current study, researchers analyzed the pre-season electrocardiograms (ECGs) of 519 NBA players from the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons to test the accuracy of the ECG guidelines (International Criteria) in elite basketball players. Among the sampled players, ECG results as identified by the International Criteria as abnormal were more common in older subjects and in those who demonstrated increased thickening of the left ventricular wall relative to their overall heart size. Athlete body size and race/ethnicity were not associated with the prevalence of abnormal ECGs.

“This data may help us continue to enhance player health and safety by distinguishing expected changes in a basketball player’s heart from underlying cardiac conditions,” said Engel. “The current ECG criteria cannot encapsulate how the wide variation in physiologic demands of different sports, and the varied baseline characteristics of athletes engaged in different sports, create varied changes in athletes' ECGs. We still have more work to do to determine if more specific criteria for evaluating ECG data in different sports is needed.”

The authors report no financial or other conflicts of interest.  This work was supported by the National Basketball Association (NBA) as part of a medical services agreement between the NBA and Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

For more information: www.jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology

Related Content

Study Shows Multiple Benefits of Patient-to-Patient Connectivity in Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 07, 2018
Akcea Therapeutics Inc., an affiliate of Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced the publication of results from the...
Being Overweight May Change Young Adults' Heart Structure, Function
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | August 03, 2018
Even as a young adult, being overweight may cause higher blood pressure and thicken heart muscle, setting the stage for...
High Intensity Exercise in Teenagers Could Ward Off Heart Disease

Ultrasound image of the carotid artery. Lines in yellow were used to determine arterial diameter and stretching before and following exercise.

News | Cardiac Diagnostics | July 16, 2018
New research published in Experimental Physiology has indicated potential differences in heart health benefits of...
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | June 14, 2018
A team of researchers says it has linked sensitivity to an allergen in red meat to the buildup of plaque in the...
The blood of patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) can appear milky in color (lipemic) due to the buildup of fat in their body. Image courtesy of Akcea Therapeutics.

The blood of patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS) can appear milky in color (lipemic) due to the buildup of fat in their body. Image courtesy of Akcea Therapeutics.

 

Feature | Cardiac Diagnostics | May 07, 2018 | Steven D. Freedman, M.D., Ph.D.
 
Male Triathletes May Be Putting Their Heart Health at Risk
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | January 09, 2018
Competitive male triathletes face a higher risk of a potentially harmful heart condition called myocardial fibrosis,...
ERT Acquires iCardiac Technologies
News | Cardiac Diagnostics | December 19, 2017
ERT recently announced it has acquired iCardiac Technologies, a provider of centralized cardiac safety and respiratory...
Overlay Init