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      How to evaluate premature ventricular beats in the athlete: critical review and proposal of a diagnostic algorithm

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          Although premature ventricular beats (PVBs) in young people and athletes are usually benign, they may rarely mark underlying heart disease and risk of sudden cardiac death during sport. This review addresses the prevalence, clinical meaning and diagnostic/prognostic assessment of PVBs in the athlete. The article focuses on the characteristics of PVBs, such as the morphological pattern of the ectopic QRS and the response to exercise, which accurately stratify risk. We propose an algorithm to help the sport and exercise physician manage the athlete with PVBs. We also address (1) which athletes need more indepth investigation, including cardiac MRI to exclude an underlying pathological myocardial substrate, and (2) which athletes can remain eligible to competitive sports and who needs to be excluded.

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          Most cited references 44

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          Detection of apical hypertrophic cardiomyopathy by cardiovascular magnetic resonance in patients with non-diagnostic echocardiography.

          To investigate the role of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in a series of patients with ECG repolarisation changes and normal echocardiography. 10 patients with anterolateral T wave inversion for which there was no obvious pathological cause who had normal routine echocardiography without contrast for the exclusion of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) also had CMR that was diagnostic of apical HCM. Apical HCM detected by CMR could be morphologically severe with wall thickness up to 28 mm, or mild. The extent of repolarisation abnormalities did not correlate to the morphological severity. In patients with unexplained repolarisation abnormalities, a normal routine echocardiogram without contrast does not exclude apical HCM. Further imaging with CMR or contrast echocardiography may be required. The reliance on routine echocardiography to exclude apical HCM may have led to underreporting of this condition.
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            Arrhythmic Mitral Valve Prolapse and Sudden Cardiac Death.

            Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) may present with ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) even in the absence of hemodynamic impairment. The structural basis of ventricular electric instability remains elusive.
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              Recommendations for participation in leisure-time physical activity and competitive sports of patients with arrhythmias and potentially arrhythmogenic conditions. Part II: ventricular arrhythmias, channelopathies and implantable defibrillators.

              This consensus paper on behalf of the Study Group on Sports Cardiology of the European Society of Cardiology follows a previous one on guidelines for sports participation in competitive and recreational athletes with supraventricular arrhythmias and pacemakers. The question of imminent life-threatening arrhythmias is especially relevant when some form of ventricular rhythm disorder is documented, or when the patient is diagnosed to have inherited a pro-arrhythmogenic disorder. Frequent ventricular premature beats or nonsustained ventricular tachycardia may be a hallmark of underlying pathology and increased risk. Their finding should prompt a thorough cardiac evaluation, including both imaging modalities and electrophysiological techniques. This should allow distinguishing idiopathic rhythm disorders from underlying disease that carries a more ominous prognosis. Recommendations on sports participation in inherited arrhythmogenic conditions and asymptomatic gene carriers are also discussed: congenital and acquired long QT syndrome, short QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy and other familial electrical disease of unknown origin. If an implantable cardioverter defibrillator is indicated, it is no substitute for the guidelines relating to the underlying pathology. Moreover, some particular recommendations for patients/athletes with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator are to be observed.

                Author and article information

                Br J Sports Med
                Br J Sports Med
                British Journal of Sports Medicine
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                October 2020
                3 September 2019
                : 54
                : 19
                : 1142-1148
                [1 ] departmentDepartment of Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular Sciences and Public Health , University of Padova , Padova, Italy
                [2 ] departmentStadium Sports Medicine Center , University of Washington , Seattle, Washington, USA
                [3 ] departmentDepartment of Medical Biotechnologies, Division of Cardiology , University of Siena , Siena, Italy
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Professor Domenico Corrado, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular and Public Health sciences, University of Padova, Via Giustiniani 2, 35128, Padova, Italy; domenico.corrado@
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:

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