Association of competitive and recreational sport participation with cardiac events in patients with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy: results from the North American multidisciplinary study of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy

Eur Heart J. 2015 Jul 14;36(27):1735-43. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehv110. Epub 2015 Apr 20.


Aims: It has been proposed that competitive sport increases the risk of ventricular tachyarrhythmias (VTA) and death in patients with arrhythmogenic right-ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). However, it is unknown whether this only applies to competitive sport or if recreational sports activity also increases the risk of VTA/death.

Methods and results: Probands diagnosed with ARVC according to the 2010 task force criteria for ARVC (n = 108) were included in the current analysis. At the time of enrolment, study participants were questioned about exercise level prior to and after ARVC diagnosis, within three categories of sports participation: competitive (n = 41), recreational (n = 48), and inactive (n = 19). Competitive sport was associated with a significantly higher risk of VTA/death when compared with both recreational sport [HR = 1.99 (1.21-3.28), P = 0.007] and inactive patients [HR = 2.05 (1.07-3.91), P = 0.030]. No increased risk of VTA/death was associated with recreational sport when compared with patients who were inactive [HR = 1.03 (0.54-1.97), P = 0.930]. Symptoms developed at an earlier age in patients who participated in competitive sport (30 ± 12 years), when compared with patients who participated in recreational sport (38 ± 17 years) (P = 0.015) and inactive patients (41 ± 11 years) (P = 0.002). No difference in age at first symptom was seen between patients who participated in recreational sport and inactive patients (P = 0.651).

Conclusion: Competitive sport was associated with a two-fold increased risk of VTA/death, and earlier presentation of symptoms, when compared with inactive patients, and to patients who participated in recreational sport. When compared with inactive patients, recreational sport was not associated with earlier onset of symptoms or increased risk of VTA/death. Identifier: NCT00024505.

Keywords: ARVC; Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy; Exercise; Presentation; Sport; Ventricular arrhythmia.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / complications*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recreation / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sports / physiology*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / etiology*
  • Young Adult

Associated data