Sudden death from aortic dissection of an ascending aortic aneurysm is an uncommon but important finding in all series of sudden death in young, apparently healthy athletes. Individuals at risk include those having any of a variety of conditions in which structural weakness of the ascending aorta predisposes to pathological dilation under prolonged periods of increased wall stress. These conditions include Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, bicuspid aortic valve, and the vascular form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Diagnostic criteria, surveillance strategies, medical management, and surgical indications are discussed. Finally, the current recommendations for sports participation are provided.
Keywords: Aortic dissection; Loeys–Dietz syndrome; Marfan syndrome; aortic aneurysm; bicuspid aortic valve.