Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Sudden Death in Athletes May Sometimes Be Prevented

continued...

Because most conditions that cause sudden death are hereditary, Smith says he relies heavily on an athlete's family history and historical profile. "You'll find more things with the history than you will with the physical exam," he tells WebMD.

Even screening isn't an ideal safety net, Smith says. For example, he says, Italy has a very thorough screening program for its young competitive athletes.

"They're a small country," he says. "They've got some governmental support and some regulation to do those kinds of things. I think that's what dictates why they have such an extensive screening program. Even so, with that said, they still have cases of sudden deaths in athletes. ? The United States is so much larger, and a little less than a fourth of those cases came out of Italy.

"It goes to show you that even the best screening programs are not going to be absolute in prevention."

Vital Information:

  • The major causes of sudden death on the athletic field are concealed, often very rare, diseases of the heart that are difficult to diagnose.
  • A new study shows that athletes who experience chest pains or loss of consciousness may undergo an echocardiogram to rule out a defect of a coronary artery, one potential cause of sudden death.
  • A family history may be the most useful tool, because most conditions that cause sudden death are hereditary.
1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
 
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
 
empty football helmet
Article
red wine
Video
 
eating blueberries
Article
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Slideshow
 
Inside A Heart Attack
SLIDESHOW
Omega 3 Sources
SLIDESHOW
 
Salt Shockers
SLIDESHOW
lowering blood pressure
SLIDESHOW