Letters to the Editor

The Many Potential Causes of Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes

 

Am Fam Physician. 2018 Aug 1;98(3):142.

Original Article: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: An Often Silent Disorder with Delayed Diagnosis [Close-ups]

Issue Date: December 1, 2017

See additional reader comments at: https://www.aafp.org/afp/2017/1201/p738.html

To The Editor: I believe that the statement in this Close-ups that the death of college basketball player Hank Gathers was the result of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an oft repeated error that highlights the problem with using contemporary media, particularly Wikipedia, as a source. His death did indeed involve a form of cardiomyopathy, but it is believed myocarditis was the cause, not hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.1 Although hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common cause of sudden death in athletes, it was specifically excluded as the cause of death for Hank Gathers. It has even been speculated that had Gathers withdrawn from competition for a substantial period and fully recovered from myocarditis, he might have safely resumed competition.

Sadly, many young athletes have died of undiagnosed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. However, Gathers's death serves as a reminder that there are many other potential causes of sudden cardiac death in young athletes, including myocarditis, right ventricular dysplasia, and anomalous coronary arteries.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial affiliations.

Reference

1. Maron BJ. Sudden death in young athletes. Lessons from the Hank Gathers affair. N Engl J Med. 1993;329(1):55–57.

Send letters to afplet@aafp.org, or 11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy., Leawood, KS 66211-2680. Include your complete address, e-mail address, and telephone number. Letters should be fewer than 400 words and limited to six references, one table or figure, and three authors.

Letters submitted for publication in AFP must not be submitted to any other publication. Possible conflicts of interest must be disclosed at time of submission. Submission of a letter will be construed as granting the AAFP permission to publish the letter in any of its publications in any form. The editors may edit letters to meet style and space requirements.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, Associate Deputy Editor for AFP Online.

 

 

Copyright © 2018 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.

Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

MOST RECENT ISSUE


Aug 15, 2018

Access the latest issue of American Family Physician

Read the Issue


Email Alerts

Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

Sign Up Now

Navigate this Article