Outside Magazine highlights value of cardiac screening for athletes


In his excellent article on the debate regarding cardiac screening for athletes, Peter Vigneron remarks:

Advanced cardiac screening can reduce the likelihood of sudden cardiac arrest, the most common cause of death among athletes. So why is it so controversial?

We wonder as much!

The key to the controversy has to do with what perspective one adopts.

If one looks at the issue from a public health or population perspective, recommending mass screening for every athlete is logistically daunting, and potential problems (such as false positives and false negative test results) are likely to occur.  There is also an important socioeconomic dimension to the recommendation: who would pay for this?

Running man in forest woods training and exercising for trail ruOn the other hand, if an individual athlete wishes to reduce his or her own risk of sudden cardiac arrest, there is no question that comprehensive, individualized testing is feasible and can avoid or greatly reduce the pitfalls of false positives and false negatives, because multiple tests are applied at once.  When performed by competent staff and interpreted by an experienced physician, these tests are extremely helpful to detect or exclude any underlying cardiovascular problem.

Furthermore, the cost of comprehensive screening does not have to be as onerous as Vigneron states.  He warns that an echocardiogram (ultrasound study of the heart) can cost up to $2000.  We provide the entire battery of tests for a fraction of that amount!Read more

Wishing you…NOT a “Holiday Heart!”

Heart Ornament

We don’t mean to be Scrooges here!  While we certainly wish you a festive and wonderful Holiday Season, we also want to remind you that more of a good thing is not always better.  We are referring here to the effect that “large” quantities of alcohol ingestion may have on the heart, even on a healthy heart.

The term “holiday heart” was coined in the late 1970’s by doctors who studied patients admitted to the hospital for arrhythmia and who were also intoxicated with alcohol.  The admissions occurred more frequently on Sundays and Mondays, and there was a peak in incidence during the week between December 24 and January 1.  None of these patients had evidence of other heart problems, and the arrhythmia—usually atrial fibrillation—typically resolved as the alcohol intoxication resolved.  The doctors therefore suspected that the cause of the arrhythmia was binge-drinking on weekends or during Christmas week.Read more

Heart symptoms to recognize


Please note: this article is for general information only and should not be taken as specific medical advice. Should you have any symptoms or concerns, please seek medical attention or contact us for further evaluation. If you feel you are having a medical emergency, contact 9-1-1 immediately.

While we strongly promote prevention of heart disease through screening and early detection, we also wish everyone to be educated about the symptoms that could indicate an active cardiovascular problem.

A meeting was convened in October 2012 by the American College of Cardiology’s subsection on Sports and Exercise Cardiology.  The proceedings from that meeting, entitled “Protecting the Heart of the American Athlete,” were just published.  Here are the highlights that deal with 5 common symptoms of heart disease in athletes.Read more

“I’m athletic but I’m not an athlete”


Many of our patients tell us that they are athletic, not athletes. How do we decide who’s an athlete and who’s not?

The American College of Cardiology recently released the proceedings from a meeting on sports and exercise cardiology that took place in October 2012.  The document states that there is no agreement on how to define an athlete!Read more

The Launch of No More Broken Hearts

In late September, the non-profit organization No More Broken Hearts  was launched to raise awareness of the need of screenings to prevent heart attacks and strokes.  It was a superb gathering of family, friends and interested in heart health. The setting was a lively, comfortable, residential block celebration with music, drinks, Absolute BBQ Express food truck caterers and many fun festivities.

No More Broken HeartsAs Victoria Dupuy, the founder of No More Broken Hearts, began her quest, Athletic Heart of San Francisco was on a similar timeline, coming into existence to fill the need for cardiovascular screenings. The paths of Athletic Heart of San Francisco and No More Broken Hearts came together with the help of S.H.A.P.E. (Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication).Read more