Testing athletes' hearts to be discussed at Stanford conference

STANFORD, Calif. - Heart experts from Europe and the United States will debate the controversy surrounding pre-participation testing of athletes' hearts at the first annual hypertrophic cardiomyopathy conference on the Stanford University campus in June. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic defect that is the most common cause of sudden death in young athletes.

"Athlete's heart, sudden death and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy," which will be held June 26-27 at the Arrillaga Alumni Center, is intended for practitioners and researchers; registration costs range from $250 to $550, with discounts for affiliates. There will also be talks on June 25 for patients who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (cost is $75, financial aid available).

Recent scientific data from Italy led to the recommendation of mandatory screening using an electrical tracing of the heart for all athletes in Europe. Such screening in the United States has remained limited to professional athletes, said Euan Ashley, MD, PhD, director of the Stanford Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center and an assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at the School of Medicine. Two years ago, Stanford researchers started a voluntary program to screen school athletes.

Topics will range from the physiologic demands on athletes' hearts to cardiovascular genetics. Speakers include Barry Maron, MD, of the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, and Antonio Pelliccia, MD, of the Institute of Sports Medicine in Rome. Information is available online at http://hcm.stanfordhospital.org or by contacting Terra Coakley at tcoakley@cvmed.stanford.edu.


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