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One-third of college athletes show abnormalities on a test of the heart's electrical activity, a new study shows.

One-third of college athletes show abnormalities on a test of the heart's electrical activity, a new study shows. These abnormal patterns were more common in male athletes than female athletes, and in black compared with white, according to the study, presented last week at the American College of Cardiology's scientific meeting in Orlando, Florida. Overall, between a quarter and half of athletes require further testing to diagnose any heart ailments, the study suggests. About 300 high school and college athletes die suddenly from heart conditions each year in the U.S., the authors wrote. Although the issue was spotlighted in high-profile deaths, such as that of Reggie Lewis, the 27-year-old captain of the Boston Celtics who collapsed in 1993 during practice, and Loyola Marymount University basketball player Hank Gathers, 23, who dropped on the court during a tournament game against the University of Portland, the U.S. doesn't require screenings for abnormal heart activity. "Comprehensive screening of college athletes for possible heart problems is feasible, and when abnormalities are found, many can be treated," said Anthony Magalski, a study author and the medical director for the Athletic Heart Clinic at St. Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri.

Heart conditions in athletes can be difficult to diagnose, because of changes caused by strenuous workouts, according to the statement. This makes many doctors ignore the results of electrocardiogram tests, or ECGs, which can find abnormalities, which is a mistake, the authors said. Female athletes tended to have more symptoms of heart trouble, such as chest pain and fainting, and were less likely to have abnormalities on ECGs.
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Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 30, 2009
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