Sports-Related Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Germany

TitelSports-Related Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Germany
MedientypJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AutorenBohm P, Scharhag J, Egger F, Tischer KH, Niederseer D, Schmied C, Meyer T
JournalCan J Cardiol
Date Published01/2021

Background: Knowledge about causes of sports-related sudden cardiac arrest (SrSCA) may influence national strategies to prevent such events. Therefore, we established a prospective registry on SrSCA to estimate the incidence and in particular describe the etiologies of SrSCA in the general population in Germany.

Methods: The registration of SrSCA based upon 4 pillars: a web-based platform to record SrSCA cases in competitive and recreational athletes, media-monitoring, cooperation with the German Resuscitation Registry, and 15 institutes of forensic medicine.

Results: After an observation period of 6 years, a total of 349 cases was recorded (mean age 48.0 ± 12.7 years); 109 subjects survived. Most of the cases occurred during nonelite competitive or recreational sports. Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was initiated in 262 cases (75%); however, rhythm analysis and defibrillation (if indicated) was mainly performed by medical services. In patients ≤ 35 years of age, premature coronary artery disease (CAD) and sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) prevailed, followed by myocarditis. In athletes ≥ 35 years of age, CAD predominated.

Conclusions: Country-specific registries are necessary to define the national screening and prevention strategy optimally. In Germany, premature CAD, SADS, and myocarditis are the leading causes of SrSCA in young athletes, reinforcing the great disparity of the prevalence of cardiac diseases among different countries. Extension of on-site SCD-prevention campaigns, with training of CPR and explanation of the efficient use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), may decrease the burden of SrSCD.

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