Many athletes with cardiac anomalies are unnecessarily prevented from participating in sports because their overall capacity to perform these activities may not be properly evaluated, a report from the Seventh National Conference on the Medical Aspects of Sports indicates.
"It appears that the degree of physical fitness often is more important in athletic performance than the heart condition," Albert S. Hyman, MD, New York, said.
Dr. Hyman, who is founder and past-president of the American College of Sports Medicine, warned physicians against automatically labeling such athletes as cardiac cripples.
He described a testing system which he said is particularly practical for the team physician, school physician, and general practitioner in determining who may take part in athletic programs.
Contrary to generally accepted opinion, Dr. Hyman said, many cardiac disorders do not preclude most types of athletic activities. Moreover, he said, "every athlete has cardiac problems" including dyspnea, palpitation, and pain