Cardiac chest pain among athletes can stem from various causes but heart issues must also be considered. It is important to note that cardiac chest pain among athletes can be triggered by a variety of conditions including muscle pain and referred pain from the thoracic spine.
Even though the heart causes might not be suspected initially among young, healthy individuals, it should still be considered. The likely causes of chest pain among young athletes include the following:
- Coronary heart disease
- Pulmonary embolism
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Acute pericarditis
- Aortic stenosis
In case there is a possible connection of chest pain to heart issues after taking the history and conducting an assessment, the doctor might request a resting electrocardiogram. If the result is normal, an exercise test might be requested.
What is sudden cardiac death syndrome?
Sudden cardiac death syndrome is an uncommon condition, particularly among athletes or those who regularly exercise. Among young individuals, the usual reason of sudden cardiac death is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or other structural hereditary conditions.
In addition, Marfan syndrome is another reason for sudden cardiac death among young individuals, but this is usually diagnosed at a young age and the individual should avoid engaging in high-intensity exercise.
Among older individuals, coronary heart disease is the usual cause as well as prolapse of the mitral valve.
What is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?
It is vital to note that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the usual cause for sudden cardiac death. This condition affects the heart muscle which leads to enlargement of the left ventricle wall. It is rare for any symptoms to manifest before collapse occurs during exercise. Among those who have early symptoms including cardiac chest pain, other indications can also occur such as palpitations and syncope.
If this condition is suspected, the doctor will request an ECG. The test might indicate abnormalities with the ST segment and T wave as well as a prominent Q wave. In most cases, the test of choice is an echocardiogram which reveals a hypertrophied left ventricle that is not dilated and absence of other conditions.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on cardiac chest pain is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage heart-related issues including chest pain, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.