Cardiac CT spots athletes susceptible to sudden death

Multislice CT angiography can save lives by identifying occult congenital cardiac anomalies and disease that could lead to sudden cardiac death among competitive athletes.

Dr. Gianocarlo Savino and colleagues at the Catholic University Gemelli Hospital in Rome used 64-slice cardiac CT angiography to diagnose suspected congenital cardiac abnormalities in 60 athletes involved in highly aerobic sports. Their clinical signs included ECG anomalies and abnormal transthoracic echocardiography. All subjects underwent contrast-enhanced cardiac CTA. Twenty-four subjects had coronary anomalies including valvular defects (13), left ventricular hypertrophy (two), and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (one). Five subjects had significant coronary atherosclerotic disease involving greater than 50% stenosis. Subjects were advised to undergo frequent monitoring or retire or were disqualified from competitive sports. Savino presented the group’s finding at the 2008 RSNA meeting.