Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletes in Italy during 2019: Internet-Based Epidemiological Research

Fabrizio Sollazzo, Vincenzo Palmieri, Salvatore Francesco Gervasi, Francesco Cuccaro, Gloria Modica, Maria Lucia Narducci, Gemma Pelargonio, Paolo Zeppilli, Massimiliano Bianco

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Background and objectives: An Italian nationwide pre-participation screening approach for prevention of sudden cardiac death in athletes (SCD-A) in competitive sportspeople showed promising results but did not achieve international consensus, due to cost-effectiveness and the shortfall of a monitoring plan. From this perspective, we tried to provide an epidemiological update of SCD-A in Italy through a year-long internet-based search. Materials and Methods: One year-long Google search was performed using mandatory and non-mandatory keywords. Data were collected according to prevalent SCD-A definition and matched with sport-related figures from Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) and Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI). Results: Ninety-eight cases of SCD-A in 2019 were identified (48.0% competitive, 52.0% non-competitive athletes). Male/female ratio was 13:1. The most common sports were soccer (33.7%), athletics (15.3%) and fitness (13.3%). A conclusive diagnosis was achieved only in 37 cases (33 of cardiac origin), with the leading diagnosis being coronary artery disease in 27 and a notably higher occurrence among master athletes. Combining these findings with ISTAT and CONI data, the SCD-A incidence rate in the whole Italian sport population was found to be 0.47/100,000 persons per year (1.00/100,000 in the competitive and 0.32/100,000 in the non-competitive population). The relative risk of SCD-A is 3.1 (CI 2.1-4.7; p < 0.0001) for competitive compared to non-competitive athletes; 9.9 for male (CI 4.6-21.4; p < 0.0001) with respect to female. Conclusions: We provided an updated incidence rate of SCD-A in both competitive and non-competitive sport in Italy. A higher risk of SCD-A among competitive and male athletes was confirmed, thus corroborating the value of Italian pre-participation screening in this population.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • athletes
  • exercise


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