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ECG interpretation in athletes

About this course

Sudden death from intrinsic cardiac conditions remains the leading cause of mortality in athletes during sport. In this context, a resting 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) is utilised as a diagnostic tool in the cardiovascular evaluation of both symptomatic and asymptomatic athletes for conditions associated with sudden cardiac death (SCD). We designed this series of modules based on a series of articles in the BJSM written by an international expert panel.

The modules start by identifying benign ECG changes seen in athletes, particularly those that reflect physiological electrical and structural remodelling or autonomic nervous system adaptations that occur as a consequence of regular and sustained physical activity. The modules then explore ECG changes that can indicate a variety of cardiomyopathies or primary electrical diseases.

As well as assisting any physician in the context of ECG interpretation and the cardiovascular care of athletes, these modules also provide valuable lessons in interpreting ECGs and highlight dangerous ECG patterns that may be found in any patient.

Learning outcomes

After completing this course you should be able to:

  • Recognise ECG findings in athletes that are part of normal physiological adaptation
  • Recognise ECG changes associated with cardiomyopathies, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and left-ventricular non-compaction (LVNC)
  • Calculate the corrected QT interval using an appropriate formula
  • Recognise common early repolarisation patterns in athletes and distinguish these from pathological findings
  • Recognise ECG changes in accessory pathways and supraventricular tachycardias
  • Describe the evaluation and secondary testing of ECG abnormalities to assess for a pathological cardiac disorder.

Written by:

Jonathan Drezner

Accreditation

Accreditor credit Accreditation statement
BMJ Learning courses 6 credits, 6:00 hours This course is accredited to the combined value of the modules it contains.