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Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young Athletes

Home / Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Young Athletes

Successful cardiac resuscitation appears to have saved professional hockey player Rich Peverley’s life according to Dr. Steven Reisman a Manhattan Cardiologist.

Rich Peverley was sitting on the bench during an NHL hockey game when he collapsed and was immediately resuscitated with chest compression and defibrillation which is the application of electrical shock to return his heart to a normal rhythm. Supposedly he had undergone a procedure to treat an irregular heartbeat found on a routine physical examination and EKG six months prior to this event. One report mentioned atrial fibrillation was discovered during that physical examination.

Sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes may have several causes including structural abnormalities such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is a thickening of the heart muscle and may also be caused by abnormal electrical activity in the heart. Abnormal electrical activity in the heart may include an abnormal electrical focus in the right ventricle of the heart, atrial fibrillation, WPW syndrome, and other arrhythmias. Patients may have no symptoms or may experience palpitations and possibly also lightheadedness or fainting.

The evaluation of young athletes under the age of thirty-five may include a routine physical examination, an EKG, possibly twenty-four-hour EKG monitoring, and an ultrasound or echocardiogram of the heart. According to Dr. Steven Reisman, Director of the New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center and a Manhattan Cardiologist the screening of athletes or those participating in athletic activities is recommended in an attempt to identify conditions capable of causing sudden cardiac arrest.


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