Wednesday, May 12, 2010

TOPS to prevent SCD caused by HCM

What do SCD and HCM have in common other that just being letters of the alphabet. HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) is the leading cause of non-traumatic SCD (sudden cardiac death) in athletes. HCM is generally considered a genetic disease that involves abnormal hypertrophy of the left ventricle. What is often misunderstood is that this genetic disease may have an unknown origin. The HCMA is a non-profit organization dedicated to patients with HCM and is a good resource for information. There are 11 genes that are known to cause HCM. There are also more than 500 known mutations (defect in the DNA code) of these genes that are connected to HCM. This is why it is such a diverse disease. HCM may be a result of a de novo mutation. This means that the genetic mutation may occur spontaneously in an athlete with no family history of HCM. This video from Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO provides a good description of HCM.

In Arizona, Team of Physicians for Students (TOPS) is an organization that has a dedicated mission to help prevent sudden cardiac death from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. TOPS provides a free pre-participation physical exam (for 8th grade through community college athletes) that includes an EKG for all participants with a follow-up echocardiogram if indicated. In 2009, there were 10 athletes that were not cleared for cardiac reasons. This means that there 10 potential cardiac emergencies that were identified before a catastrophic event occurred. Nationally, the Anthony Bates Foundation has a similar mission.

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