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The medical value and cost-effectiveness of an exercise test for sport preparticipation evaluation in asymptomatic middle-aged white male and female athletes

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular events related to high-intensity sport practice are rare but dramatic. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of these events after the age of 35 years. The value of a maximal exercise test (ET) for detection of athletes at risk remains a matter of debate. AIM: The aim of this prospective multicentre study was to clarify the medical value and cost-effectiveness of an ET in middle-aged white asymptomatic athletes who participate in high-intensity sport. METHODS: All athletes had a physical examination, assessment of cardiovascular risk factors, a resting electrocardiogram and an ET. In case of abnormal ET, complementary cardiovascular evaluation was performed, when requested, to detect potential cardiovascular disease. RESULTS: 1361 asymptomatic athletes (mean age 50.4±9.6 years; mean training 5.1±3.2h/week; 10.4% women) with a normal resting electrocardiogram and without cardiovascular disease were consecutively included. An abnormal ET was reported in 144 subjects (94% men); this was positively related to the subject's age and cardiovascular risk level. Cardiac arrhythmias (48%) and CAD symptoms (33.3%) were mainly reported. Cardiovascular disease was confirmed in 24 cases (1.7% from the whole population; 16.7% from those with an abnormal ET) - mainly CAD (n=12) and arterial hypertension (n=8). Seventy athletes presented significant unexplained arrhythmias. The cost was approximately €8450 for every confirmed case of cardiovascular disease. CONCLUSIONS: In this multicentre study in middle-aged athletes, a systematic ET was abnormal in 10.6% of cases. About 2% of subjects had cardiovascular disease, mainly arrhythmias and CAD. From these results, it seems that in a trained population aged >35 years, ET should be targeted at men with at least two cardiovascular risk factors, with acceptable cost-effectiveness.
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https://hal-univ-rennes1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01502237
Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 11:35:48 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 11:01:51 AM

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Laurent Chevalier, Gaëlle Kervio, Stephane Doutreleau, Jean-Philippe Mathieu, Jean-Michel Guy, et al.. The medical value and cost-effectiveness of an exercise test for sport preparticipation evaluation in asymptomatic middle-aged white male and female athletes. Archives of cardiovascular diseases, Elsevier/French Society of Cardiology, 2017, 110 (3), pp.149-156. ⟨10.1016/j.acvd.2016.06.001⟩. ⟨hal-01502237⟩

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