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ECGs recommended for Aussie olympians
AUSTRALIAN athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics have been advised to have ECGs, with the recent death of a Norwegian swimmer highlighting the importance of monitoring cardiac health, the team medical director says.
Dale Oen, 26, was one of Norway’s medal hopes for the London Games when he died suddenly of cardiac arrest at a training camp in Arizona on
Dr Peter Baquie, Australian Olympic team medical director, said ECGs were recommended, but not mandated, for athletes following a consensus statement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2009.
“It’s strongly recommended that when athletes have a medical assessment as part of the preparation for London, that an ECG is included,” Dr Baquie
“People are dying. There were two soccer players and now this Norwegian bloke, so that reinforces that we’ve got to keep trying to look at this incidence.”
So far all Australia’s Olympic swimming and hockey competitors have had ECGs, he said.
The IOC said adding a 12-lead ECG to history and physical examination resulted in a substantial increase in the ability to identify potential lethal heart disorders, a position endorsed by the European Society of Cardiology but not the American Heart Association.
Dr Baquie said using ECGs for elite athletes was disputed internationally because of the difficulty in applying research findings from one country to another. Athletes have larger hearts, and structural differences from hearts of non-athletes made it difficult to identify congenital defects on ECG, he said.
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