$10 for a soccer ball, $82 for a screening test, 1 grim reaper on the pitch. Heart failure, everything else is lifeless.

soccer_reap2.jpg

Here’s an excerpt  garnered this past week in the news:

Cardiac problems like an abnormal heartbeat are exacerbated by rigorous exercise in a way that can be fatal in athletes, and regular testing for the problem could save lives, doctors at a heart conference said Sunday.

Since 1981, Italian authorities have run heart checks on all competing athletes. The incidence of sudden, fatal heart attacks has dropped from four cases per 100,000 to 0.4 cases per 100,000.

Corrado estimated that the cost of Italy’s heart screening program is about US$82 per athlete. Other countries are not convinced that screening is worth the cost, given how few athletes are at risk. Concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of the scan, which relies largely on echocardiograms, a test that shows if the heart is pumping normally.

“As a screening test, it’s very imperfect,” said Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, chief of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University and spokesman for the American Heart Association. “It can pick up many of the things that cause sudden death, but not all of them.”

Hey come on now, only 4 lives out of 100 000. Seriously, we’re only talking about someone’s son or husband. No big deal.

Source: CBC.ca, September 02, 2007

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