Exercise-associated collapse: postural hypotension, or something deadlier?

Phys Sportsmed. 2003 Mar;31(3):23-9. doi: 10.3810/psm.2003.03.242.


Exercise-associated collapse (EAC) is the most common reason that athletes are treated in the medical tent following an endurance event. The pathophysiology of EAC is postural hypotension that results when the loss of muscle pumping action caused by the cessation of exercise is combined with cutaneous vasodilation. EAC usually occurs after an athlete crosses the finish line. If an athlete collapses during a race, then another serious medical cause is more likely. A brief assessment of the collapsed athlete should be carried out to obtain a working diagnosis. Prompt treatment of EAC includes elevating the legs and pelvis of the athlete.