The role of echocardiography in sports cardiology: An expert opinion statement of the Italian Society of Sports Cardiology (SIC sport)

Int J Cardiol. 2024 Sep 1:410:132230. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2024.132230. Epub 2024 Jun 8.


Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is routinely required during pre-participation screening in the presence of symptoms, family history of sudden cardiac death or cardiomyopathies <40-year-old, murmurs, abnormal ECG findings or in the follow-up of athletes with a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD). TTE is a cost-effective first-line imaging modality to evaluate the cardiac remodeling due to long-term, intense training, previously known as the athlete's heart, and to rule out the presence of conditions at risk of sudden cardiac death, including cardiomyopathies, coronary artery anomalies, congenital, aortic and heart valve diseases. Moreover, TTE is useful for distinguishing physiological cardiac adaptations during intense exercise from pathological behavior due to an underlying CVD. In this expert opinion statement endorsed by the Italian Society of Sports Cardiology, we discussed common clinical scenarios where a TTE is required and conditions falling in the grey zone between the athlete's heart and underlying cardiomyopathies or other CVD. In addition, we propose a minimum dataset that should be included in the report for the most common indications of TTE in sports cardiology clinical practice.

Keywords: Athletes; Cardiomyopathy; Echocardiography; Heart valve disease; Pre-participation screening; Sports cardiology; Sudden cardiac death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Cardiology* / methods
  • Cardiology* / standards
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control
  • Echocardiography* / methods
  • Echocardiography* / standards
  • Expert Testimony / methods
  • Expert Testimony / standards
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Societies, Medical* / standards
  • Sports / physiology
  • Sports Medicine* / methods
  • Sports Medicine* / standards