By James Brice February 10, 2009 Diagnostic Imaging
Multislice CT angiography can save lives by identifying occult congenital cardiac anomalies and disease that could lead to sudden cardiac death among competitive athletes. Fans may remember the tragic death of college basketball star Hank Gathers in March 1990. The presumed first choice in the impending National Basketball Association draft choice staggered, collapsed, and died in a few seconds during a nationally televised intercollegiate game. The incident left physicians to consider how his death could have been prevented. A study from the Catholic University Gemelli Hospital in Rome reflects a continuation of those medical inquiries almost two decades later. Dr. Gianocarlo Savino and colleagues used 64-slice cardiac CT to diagnose suspected congenital cardiac abnormalities in 60 athletes. The subjects' average age was 28.9 years. All were involved in soccer, basketball, tennis, or other highly aerobic sports. Their clinical signs include ECG anomalies and abnormal transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). Savino presented the group's finding at the 2008 RSNA meeting.
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