Improved clinical care has led to an increase in the number of adults with congenital heart disease (CHD) engaging in leisure time and competitive sports activities. Although the benefits of exercise in patients with CHD are well established, there is a low but appreciable risk of exercise-related complications. Published exercise recommendations for individuals with CHD are predominantly centred on anatomic lesions, hampering an individualized approach to exercise advice in this heterogeneous population. This document presents an update of the recommendations for competitive sports participation in athletes with cardiovascular disease published by the Sports Cardiology & Exercise section of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC) in 2005. It introduces an approach which is based on the assessment of haemodynamic, electrophysiological and functional parameters, rather than anatomic lesions. The recommendations provide a comprehensive assessment algorithm which allows for patient-specific assessment and risk stratification of athletes with CHD who wish to participate in competitive sports.
Keywords: Competitive sports; Congenital heart disease; Participation recommendations; Sports cardiology.
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