Pathology of Cardiac Diseases at Risk of Sudden Death in Athletes

  • D. Corrado
  • C. Basso
  • G. O. Thiene


A structural cardiovascular abnormality is found at autopsy in most cases of sudden death in athletes [1-8]. The cause of sudden death reflects the age of partecipants. Atherosclerotic coronary artery disease is by far the most common cause of sudden death in athletes over 35 years of age [2,4, 5], whereas a broader spectrum of pathologic conditions even including cardiomyopathies [3,6,7,10], congenital coronary artery anomalies [11,12], mitral valve prolapse [13], conduction system abnormalities [14], myocarditis [1,5,6] and aortic dissection [6, 7] may underlie sudden fatalities in younger athletes. The cardiovascular pathologic substrates are usually clinically silent and the cause of death found at autopsy had been not diagnosed or even suspected in over 75% of athletes who died suddenly [6,7], In addition, the low sensitivity of clinical tests in detecting such cardiovascular abnormalities may invalidate screening programs for prevention of sport-related fatalities [6,7].


Right Ventricular Sudden Death Bicuspid Aortic Valve Mitral Valve Prolapse Young Athlete 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Corrado
    • 1
  • C. Basso
    • 1
  • G. O. Thiene
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of PaduaItaly

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