Echocardiography as a screen to prevent SCD in athletes — 5 Questions with CJSM

 

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Dr. Gian Corrado performing screening cardiac ultrasound

For our first “5 Questions with CJSM” of 2017, we have a special guest:  Dr. Gianmichel Corrado, of Boston Children’s Hospital and Northeastern University.

Dr. Gian Corrado  is a doubly special guest for me: he is the lead author of a ‘published-ahead-of-print’ CJSM study and is someone who trained me in sports medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital.

I have fond memories of working alongside him, the head team physician for Northeastern University in Boston, as we cared for hockey and football athletes.  And I remember the work he was just beginning to do in his now-blossoming area of research.

The new study reports the findings of a novel ‘take’ on a controversial aspect of sports medicine: how might we screen for underlying disorders that predispose our athletes to sudden cardiac death (SCD)?

By the way, don’t let Dr. Gian Corrado’s name fool you — this is not that Dr. Corrado, (Domenico Corrado), who also has published on screening for SCD; but both Drs. Corrado share a similar concern: the primary prevention of this catastrophic event.

Dr. Gian Corrado’s approach is to use ‘screening echocardiography in front-line providers,’ and his findings can be found here:  ‘Early Screening for Cardiovascular Abnormalities with Pre-Participation Echocardiography:  Feasibility Study.’

Dr. Corrado has this to say about his important work:

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1. CJSM: What was the principal outcome measure you were looking at in this study? What were the secondary outcome measures?

GC: Central in the debate as to how to best identify athletes at risk for sudden death (SD) is cost-effectiveness.  The American Heart Association continues to recommend a history and physical (H&P) as the sole method for screening young athletes for the cardiac conditions that can cause SD.  The H&P has been shown to be a poor test to apply to the above dilemma as it misses athletes whom have potentially deadly cardiac conditions and falsely identifies those that do not.  Many feel that, given this reality, an electrocardiogram (ECG) screening program should be implemented.  This approach has been shown to have significant limitations as it too yields high false positive rates.  The Northeastern Group has suggested and demonstrated that with advances in portable ultrasound frontline providers (FLP) can obtain limited echocardiographic images pertinent to the structural conditions that dominate in culpability with SD. Read more of this post

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November…….already

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Transitions: November in the USA.

Really?  Can it be that November is here?

I just covered my last high school football game of the fall, a loss in the playoffs. A season which began in the heat and humidity of August [with its attendant muscle cramps and concerns of exertional heat illness & exercise-associated hyponatremia] is now over, and injuries sustained on wrestling mats and in basketball gymnasia are beginning to show up in my clinic.  Before you know it, the skiiers and snowboarders will be filling out the waiting room.

November also brings with it the publication of our last CJSM of 2015, and it is a good one.  We have profiled two offerings in particular, both of which currently are freely available on line:  original research looking at potential limitations of American Heart Association recommendations for pre-participation cardiac screening in youth athletes; and a provocative editorial [and just right for the change of seasons] arguing for adult autonomy in deciding whether or not to wear helmets when skiing.

Both subjects are among the more controversial in sports medicine.  Whether or not to consider pre-participation screening with ECG when taking care of our younger athletes–well, that’s a question whose answer can vary depending on what side of the Atlantic one is on, or what part of the United States you may live in.  It’s a question whose answers may lie in much of the research we publish in our journal, with luminaries such as Jonathan Drezner and William Roberts weighing in.

Whenever we publish research or commentary on the question of mandatory personal protective equipment, I sometimes feel as if we have entered the ‘blood sport’ arena of sports medicine.  This issue’s editorial  on the ‘Ethics of Head Protection While Skiing’ has already generated some buzz on our twitter feed. Two years ago, we published the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine (CASEM) Position Statement on the Mandatory Use of Bicycle Helmets, and our social media feeds erupted.  I have never seen so much discussion on the blog site.

There is much more to be read carefully in this November 2015 issue.  A very interesting piece of original research, from one of our more prolific authors (Dr. Irfan Asif), looks at the potential psychological stressors of undergoing pre-participation cardiovascular screening.  As a pediatric sports medicine specialist, I’ll be reading with great interest a study on the potential prognostic implications of post-injury amnesia in pediatric and adolescent concussed athletes–lead author Johna Register-Mihalik continues to make major contributions to our understanding of that injury in that population.

So, enjoy this issue.  And brace yourself–2016 is on its way.  It will be here before you know it!

Football. Texas style.

grand prairie texas weather

It’s big–and HOT–in Texas.

The Lone Start state, in August.  Grand Prairie, Texas–next to Arlington, within sight of Cowboy Stadium (alright, so it’s officially AT&T stadium).  Deep in the heart and soul of American Football, that’s where my month began.

In addition to being an Associate Editor of CJSM, one of the hats I wear is as a Director sitting on the Board of a non-profit youth sport safety advocacy group, MomsTeam Institute. Yesterday, I participated in the group’s outreach to a youth football organization in Texas:  the Grand Prairie Youth Football Assocation (GPYFA).  The Chief Executive of MomsTeam, Brooke deLench, has organized a week long session to address issues of football and cheerleading safety; this week is preparatory to longitudinal work including injury surveillance to determine if certain interventions can lower injury rates in the 1000+ youth athletes participating in GPYFA sports.  Brooke has coined the term “SmartTeams, PlaySafe” to emphasize the important role education, knowledge transfer, and implementation can play in the world of youth sports.

Yesterday, I was one of a few individuals speaking to the coaches and parents of GPYFA.  My charge was to talk about preventing and identifying heat illness and overuse injuries, and review the pre-participation evaluation (PPE) with the assembled crowd.

s grand prairie hs weight room

The weight room in South Grand Prairie High School It’s superior to a lot of college facilities I have seen.

The venue was South Grand Prairie High School, a magnificent structure with a beautiful, large auditorium, and just around the corner a magnificent and huge weight room and indoor turf facility. Boy, they do things big in Texas, they really do.

As I prepared for this talk, I found myself time and again dipping into the CJSM well–on the subject of youth overuse injury, I leaned heavily on the AMSSM position statement from Di Fiori et al. published in the January 2014 CJSM. When I touched on the topic of Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia, I turned to the 3rd International Consensus Statement and the podcast I just conducted with lead author, Dr. Tamara Hew. The PPE?  Of course, I would consult the joint ACSM/FIMS statement (CJSM Nov. 2014) and the podcast I conducted with its lead author, Dr. William Roberts.

It does indeed excite me to share with you all the resources this journal has.  As an educator and public health advocate, as well as a clinician, I use CJSM in a very real and practical sense.  Day in, day out.

My time in Texas was brief, but MomsTeam’s work will continue.  I am hopeful that our work will help these children and their families navigate some of the risks that are associated with the many, many benefits of youth sports such as football and cheer.  For one, I hope my talk helps prevent any cases of exertional heat illness (EHI) in this group. The forecast for  this week in Grand Prairie has the thermometer hitting 106F (41C)!!!  At least I think the humidity on an August day in Texas may be a little bit less than that seen in, say, Qatar, site of the 2022 World Cup.

As I flew home, I read the recent Sports Illustrated story on the 25 anniversary of the release of the iconic book,’ Friday Night Lights.’  I mused on the importance of youth football not just in Texas, but in the United States in general.  With 3.5 million players age 6 – 13 in this country (CJSM 2013), the sport keeps a LOT of kids active.  With the season now upon us, let’s all keep working on making this sport, and all sports, safer for our young athletes.  With the work done in this and other journals of sports medicine, we’ll continue to generate the evidence to support the decisions that will further this cause.

 

CJSM Podcast 5

jsm-podcast-bg-1I’m pleased to present the journal’s fifth podcast, highlighting the new ACSM and FIMS consensus statement on the Preparticipation evaluation (PPE) published just last week in the November 2014 CJSM.

I was able to interview William Roberts, M.D., M.S., FACSM, the lead author of the study.  I learned a lot from the conversation with Dr. Roberts.  I hope you do too.

Listen to the podcast here, or use the iTunes link found on the main page to check out all of our podcasts.

And while you are at it, please also visit the previous blog post and take the poll:  we’re interested to know if you use electronic documentation and data storage when you conduct PPE’s (a so-called ‘e-PPE’).  Enjoy!

 

 

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