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When a young heart stops
An Ontario hockey player, 15, collapsed during a game Sunday night, apparently after su ering from cardiac arrest. He died hours later. While paramedics respond to numerous calls for cardiac arrest, it’s rare with teenagers.
Sudden cardiac death occurs when the heart stops abruptly. In teenagers and young adults, structural heart abnormalities or heart rhythm disturbances are a common cause of sudden death. Typically, athletes will have had symptoms as a warning, but they may have ignored them or assumed that they had just overdone it, overexerted themselves or become too dehydrated.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with obstruction (HCM)
• Thickening of the walls of the heart muscle • The heart makes too much muscle tissue

200 ATHLETES DIE EVERY YEAR
from sudden cardiac death in the U.S.

About

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Common cause of sudden cardiac death
Normal heart
To the body Aorta To the lungs

Thickening just below the aortic valve will cause obstruction to the flow of blood leaving the heart. When blood flow is blocked it can cause abnormal heart rhythms, called arrhythmias. Some types of arrhythmias (but not all) can lead to sudden death. With the thickening of the left ventricle wall and septum, the Left left ventricle is much ventricle narrower than in a normal heart.

1 IN 500
people

HCM occurs in

Overgrowth

Left atrium Right atrium

Septum Right ventricle

Left ventricular wall

Case reports have linked anabolic steroids with increased left ventricular mass, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and sudden death in weightlifters and other athletes. Furthermore, two small studies of steroid-using athletes demonstrated a relationship between steroid use and impaired function and an increased size of the heart’s chambers.

Diagnosis of HCM
Clinical evaluation
A doctor checks for shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitations, fatigue, dizziness or passing out.

Coronary heart disease, congenital anomalies of the coronary arteries, some rare arrhythmias, aortic aneurysm dissection, myocarditis, long QT syndrome, Kawasaki’s disease, and hard blows to the chest are also risk factors for sudden death.
Sources: cardiology.westl.edu

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

The ECG is often abnormal and may display various patterns reflecting the excess heart muscle tissue.

Echocardiogram (Echo)

Genetic testing

An Echo is an ultrasound of the heart and will show the details of the heart including the muscles, valves and function.

There are approximately 13 di erent genes that can cause HCM. The tests are expensive and aren’t guaranteed to find the abnormal gene.

SUSAN BATSFORD, GRAPHICS EDITOR, TWITTER @SBATS1; INFOGRAPHIC BY TARA CORRAN/QMI AGENCY

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