Findings by Wimbledon Athletics Demonstrate the Need for Widespread Cardiovascular Testing on Young Athletes

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With a significant number of student athletes diagnosed with life-threatening or life-altering cardiovascular conditions through testing done by Wimbledon Athletics, stronger measures must be put in place to ensure the health and safety of young athletes.

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Diagnosis empowers athletes and their athletic trainers, coaches, and parents to make important decisions that can both save their lives and help them effectively manage their health.

Wimbledon Health Partners, the industry leader in on-site diagnostic testing for physicians and athletic programs, releases findings to support the need for comprehensive cardiovascular testing of young athletes to help minimize the risk of sudden cardiac death. Over the past ten months, Wimbledon Athletics has detected cardiovascular abnormalities in student athletes at 78.2% of the high schools, colleges, universities, and sports facilities where testing has been administered. This includes students identified with conditions that could prove imminently life-threatening as well as those who will need lifelong cardiology follow up and/or medical intervention at some point in the future. With multiple sources citing sudden cardiac arrest as a leading cause of death in young athletes, this finding is significant.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the number one medical cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, had the highest prevalence among the testing population in terms of potentially life-threatening conditions. In one case, Wimbledon Athletics discovered the student’s family had a long history of HCM—something multiple pre-participation physical evaluations neglected to uncover. Because of this discovery, both the student athlete and other members of his family are taking the necessary measures to treat and be evaluated for this deadly hereditary condition. Moreover, several cases of different types of cardiomyopathies were found, some of which did indicate imminent danger for those athletes if not treated immediately.

Findings also indicate a high prevalence of Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW), which is an electrical abnormality that can cause sudden cardiac death and is often asymptomatic until a tragic event occurs. Of particular interest is that, once identified, WPW can be cured through a simple ablation procedure with no physical restrictions thereafter. At one Division I school alone, three student athletes were identified with Wolff-Parkinson-White, which is a number much higher than studies would indicate for the population size.

Wimbledon Athletics detected Marfan syndrome and coronary artery anomalies, both potentially fatal conditions, in a number of student athletes. The company’s testing also identified numerous cases of septal defects, aortic valve abnormalities, and dilated aortic roots, all of which will require lifelong cardiology follow up with many requiring surgery in the near-term future. Wimbledon Athletics recently discovered a life-threatening tumor in the heart of a young athlete. This discovery more than likely saved the student’s life and has allowed the student to seek medical attention to have the tumor removed immediately.

These findings demonstrate the value of widespread cardiovascular testing on the population of young athletes of high school and college age. Even if an athlete receives a clean bill of health from a physician, passes fitness tests, and exhibits no symptoms, he or she could still be at risk for one or more cardiovascular conditions, potentially putting the athlete’s life in danger. Many conditions can be corrected, cured, or managed if identified early, allowing athletes to continue pursuing the activities they love.

“Diagnosis empowers athletes and their athletic trainers, coaches, and parents to make important decisions that can both save their lives and help them effectively manage their health, whether that means undergoing further evaluation or surgery to fix a defect, coming to terms with physical limitations, or being aware of a condition that may pose serious consequences in the immediate future or later in life,” states Bradley J. Artel, M.D., F.A.C.C., Chief Medical Officer at Wimbledon Health Partners.

About Wimbledon Health Partners:

Wimbledon Health Partners formed in 2013 to meet the need for on-site diagnostic testing at physicians’ offices. The industry leader, Wimbledon Health Partners provides physicians with state-of-the-art, in-office testing to detect circulatory conditions and cardiac abnormalities using vascular ultrasound and echocardiography.

About Wimbledon Athletics:

Wimbledon Athletics, the newest division of Wimbledon Health Partners, is pioneering the way for high schools, colleges, universities, and sports facilities to test students for vascular conditions and for unsuspected cardiac abnormalities to help minimize sudden cardiac death among young athletes.

For more information on how your office or school can partner with Wimbledon Health Partners, visit us at http://www.dxtesting.com or call us at (855) 200-8262.

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Cynda Perun
@whpathletics
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