A Note of Caution

Experts agree that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCMP) is a complex heterogenous condition characterized by an asymmetrically hypertrophied and nondilated left ventricle in the absence of another cardiac or systemic disease that causes hypertrophy. It is no respecter of ages and presents an enigma characterized by a diversity of morphologic, functional, and clinical features. Clinicians should note that current treatment strategies to prevent sudden cardiac death, as well as optimal risk stratification measures, are imprecise. Because of the unknowns, even the inclusion of noninvasive testing in a prescreening evaluation cannot guarantee the identification of all persons with HCMP or other important cardiovascular lesions. Acknowledging those limitations requires clinicians to maintain a heightened sensitivity and awareness during "routine" preparticipation evaluation of young athletes.

Source: Maron BJ. Cardiovascular risks to young persons on the athletic field. Ann Int Med 1998;129:379-386.