Sudden cardiac death while playing Australian Rules football: a retrospective 14 year review

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Abstract

Australian Rules football is a sport which evolved from Gaelic football and which is played by a large number of predominantly male participants in a number of countries. The highest participation rates are in the southern states of Australia. A retrospective review over a period of 14 years identified 14 cases of sudden cardiac death that occurred in individuals while playing the sport. All were male and ranged in age from 13 to 36 years with a mean and median age of 23 years. A spectrum of cardiac causes was identified including coronary artery atherosclerosis, myocarditis, anomalous coronary artery anatomy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, and healed Kawasaki disease. In 5 cases the heart was morphologically normal raising the possibility of a channelopathy. No traumatic deaths were identified. Some of the individuals had experienced symptoms prior to the fatal episode and the role of pre participation screening in reducing mortality is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-162
Number of pages5
JournalForensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • Anomalous coronary artery anatomy
  • Australian Rules football
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Channelopathy
  • Pre-participation screening
  • Sudden cardiac death

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