Cardiac events in the aged during sport is increasing in Australia. A recent article in Sport Health a magazine released by Sports Medicine Australia, focuses on cardiac events in sport in Australia and has an article that looks at cardiac events in the aged. In this article David Bertovic discusses the rise in cardiac events in the aged with a focus on the why? and what to do about it?
David states that the major cause of cardiac events in the aged is atherosclerosis.
Coronary atherosclerosis, either with or without definitive myocardial infarction, is by far the leading cause of cardiac arrest during and soon after physical activity in individuals over the age of 35.
He believes that part of the solution is for older athletes to undergo a pre-screening process.
It is reasonable for individuals older than 35 years to undergo some sort of medical assessment and risk stratification prior to commencing a new, or more strenuous, physical activity programme.
This screening should focus on symptoms that suggest underlying coronary disease. Included in this screening process is the use of a 12 lead Eco-cardiogram (ECG) to check cardiac function during exercise.
A further point raised by David is that cardiac events in the aged was directly related to previous experience and physical fitness levels. Athletes who were physically prepared for marathons were less likely to suffer a cardiac event than those who were novice or lacked fitness.
This article also recommends greater education around the signs and symptoms of cardiac events. In conjunction with this is the need for General Practitioners to be better trained in the best ways to identify underlying coronary conditions.
For further reading, see the full article here pages 38-41
 David Bertovic, (2015/16) “Cardiac Events in Middle- and Older-Aged Athletes.” Sport Health 33:4 pp38-41. Accessed at https://asp-au.secure-zone.net/v2/684/750/8403/Sport-Health-Volume-33-Issue-4-2015-16.pdf on 15 March 2016.