THE HEART

Triathlon Plus - - Tri Health -

It’s both tragic and alarm­ing to hear of an ath­lete dy­ing from sud­den car­diac ar­rest – par­tic­u­larly dur­ing a race. Sud­den Ar­rhyth­mic Death Syn­drome or SADS is a generic term for a sud­den car­diac death where no def­i­nite cause can be found.

Ac­cord­ing to the char­ity CRY – Car­diac Risk in the Young – there are cur­rently 12 deaths a week from un­di­ag­nosed heart con­di­tions.

Ex­er­cise trig­gers a dan­ger­ous heart rhythm only when an ab­nor­mal­ity al­ready ex­ists, says Chris Allen, se­nior car­diac nurse at the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion.

He urges any­one em­bark­ing on or in­volved with en­durance sport to have a check up with their doc­tor.

“By iden­ti­fy­ing a con­di­tion we can take preven­ta­tive strate­gies. These in­clude con­ser­va­tive mea­sures like life­style mod­i­fi­ca­tion (in­clud­ing eas­ing back on in­tense ex­er­cise), med­i­ca­tion like betablock­ers, or in­ter­ven­tion strate­gies like pace­mak­ers.”

Up to 80 per cent of in­her­ited heart con­di­tions and elec­tri­cal dis­tur­bances can also be de­tected by screen­ing, says Dr Aneil Mal­ho­tra, who spe­cialises in sports car­di­ol­ogy, and who led the med­i­cal team at last year’s World Se­ries race in Hyde Park. Log onto test­my­heart.org for de­tails of CRYs free na­tion­wide clin­ics for 14-35 year olds. If there’s a fam­ily his­tory ask your GP about NHS screen­ing.

Out­side of those ages (when heart con­di­tions usu­ally present) a pri­vate screen­ing costs ap­prox­i­mately £100.

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