I wanted to say a quick hello and update you on our sports cardiology program, which I am expanding with some of my colleagues this fall.
Those of you who know me, know that I love sports. I have ever since I was a young boy. I started with the BC Lions, and quickly expanded to other sports teams in the city, and beyond.
The benefits of exercise are enormous, and the vast majority of us do not get enough exercise. Like anything, though, there are also risks. Cardiac risks from sports and exercise are low, but do exist.
I have had the privilege of consulting for the Vancouver Whitecaps, BC Lions, Canadian Olympic teams, other high-level athletes, and most recently the Vancouver Canucks, in my practice. I am proud to call myself a sports cardiologist, and serve on the Sports and Exercise Council of the American College of Cardiology. The discipline of sports cardiology is a young and expanding section of cardiology practice, and is focused on prevention of sudden cardiac death, a rare but tragic event; assessment of symptoms during exercise; and optimizing athletic performance from a cardiovascular perspective.
This fall I will expand my work as a sports cardiologist. I am pleased to be joined in this venture by my good friend and partner in practice Dr. Sam Doe, our nurse practitioner colleague Ms. Lana Galac, and our team of research nurses. We are going to expand our screening of players, using EKG and other technologies, focusing on athletes from adolescence to the elderly – each age group has different things to worry about. We are also going to incorporate new technologies to monitor athletes, which will help us to investigate their symptoms. We will expand our registry of patients to improve knowledge of cardiovascular adaptation to training and help distinguish what is normal vs what is not. And we will campaign for public safety and widespread access to defibrillators – and ensure that people know how to use them.
I am very excited to be able to make this service available for patients and the public, and help everyone to participate in athletics as safely as possible!
I will provide further information this fall. For now, here are some links:
Mayo Clinic Sports Cardiology: A good definition of sports cardiology, and an example of the service we are aiming to build.
ESPN Article on Rich Peverley: The story of an NHL Hockey Player who survived sudden cardiac death, and now works to advocate for defibrillator availability and safe athletic participation.
BMJ Review Article on Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletes: This is a professional-level review article in the British Medical Journal. The full article is complicated, but the bottom line on this page provides a useful summary.
Until next time,