American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
For Immediate Release May 04, 2005

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS:  Dr. Christine Lawless presented research addressing the safety and efficacy of implantable defibrillators (ICDs) and automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in athletes. Her research was part of the research symposium at the recent Annual Meeting of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine in Austin, Texas. The use of ICDs and AEDs is frequently discussed in the athletic population. She and her colleagues conducted a survey among over 1000 sports medicine specialists. With a response rate of 43.8% of which 91% were team physicians and encompassed 48/50 states.Dr. Lawless and her colleagues found 17.1% of the sports medicine specialists had evaluated athletes with ICDs. Of these, 53 athletes or 65.4% were allowed by the physician to participate in athletics. Among the athletes who participated in sports, ICD shock frequency was fairly high (30.2%). This figure is about twice the rate that is seen in a non-athletic ICD population. Failure of the shock to convert the rhythm occurred in one athlete; fortunately, the athlete did survive. AEDs had been used by only 3% of specialists in 18 athletes, with successful termination of rhythm disturbance in 12/18 (66.7%). This rate is high, but comparable to rates that have been recently reported with the AED in the general population. Two out of 3 younger athletes with AED failures had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Dr. Lawless concludes that AEDs can be effective in defibrillating athletes with ventricular fibrillation during sports, but this research is preliminary and requires confirmation in the area of participation in sport for athletes with known cardiac conditions. Dr. Lawless is a cardiologist and sports medicine specialist in the Chicago area, and is a member of AMSSM and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology.

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was organized in 1991 by a group of physicians who recognized the need for an organization within the field of sports medicine that approached athletes, exercising individuals, and teams comprehensively with consultative and continuous care of their orthopedic, medical, nutritional, and psychosocial issues. Although sports medicine concepts are often thought of in conjunction with professional and elite athletes, these concepts apply to athletes of all levels including grade school, high school, college and recreational athletes (“weekend athletes”). AMSSM is comprised of over 900 Sports Medicine Physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 11639 Earnshaw, Overland Park, KS 66210, (913) 327-1415 or [email protected] .

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.

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4000 W. 114th Street, Suite 100
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Phone: 913.327.1415

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