Introduction: This consensus statement summarizes the proceedings of The Expert Consensus Conference on Arrhythmias in the Athlete of the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (NASPE) on detecting, evaluating, and treating athletes with cardiovascular disorders that predispose to cardiac arrhythmias.
Methods and results: The participants in the open policy conference were selected by the codirectors (Drs. Estes and Olshansky) based on expertise and contributions to the literature. All participants provided a referenced summary of their presentation. The writing group used the information from all published scientific studies, clinical trials, registries, clinical experience, and expert opinion to make recommendations regarding screening, evaluation, management, eligibility for competition, and a range of other medical, social, and legal issues regarding the recreational and competitive athlete. The codirectors of the symposium synthesized the participants' reports for this and made revisions according to suggestions of all members of the writing committee. The manuscript was reviewed by four independent reviewers assigned by the NASPE Committee for the Development of Position Statements and NASPE Board of Trustees.
Conclusion: Despite considerable advances in knowledge regarding the diagnosis, therapy, and mechanisms of arrhythmias in the athlete, much remains unknown. Continued basic, clinical, and epidemiologic research is needed. Current screening techniques to detect athletes lack sensitivity and specificity. Evaluation of standardized screening programs with tracking of long-term outcomes is needed. Officials from athletic, academic, medical, and legal institutions need to form strategic partnerships to develop policy related to assessment of risk and assumption of responsibility for athletic activities.