The success of systematic early age talent development has led to the professionalisation of youth sports academies used by clubs and governing bodies alike, and sports physicians are nowadays commonly confronted with paediatric cardiological problems. Medical cardiac care of the paediatric athlete is however in its infancy, and the international guidelines that are present for adult athletes, are not yet available. Similarly, reference data for ECG and echocardiography are incomplete. The aim of this article is to provide and introduction to the cardiac care of the paediatric athlete to facilitate healthy and above all, safe talent development, but also provide guidance on how to distinguish adaptive, beneficial cardiovascular remodelling from underlying pathology of congenital or inherited cardiovascular disease. Differences in presentation, diagnosis and treatment between childhood and adult athletes are highlighted and can educate the reader in the emerging field of paediatric sports cardiology.
Keywords: Athletic adaptation; Paediatric arrhythmia; Paediatric athlete; Paediatric cardiomyopathy; Paediatric exercise; Paediatric sports cardiology.