The Evaluation of Electrocardiographic Findings in 6-17 Year-Old Competitive Athletes in Zanjan City, Iran

Document Type: Original article


1 Department of Pediatric Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran

2 Student Research Center, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran

3 Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran


Background: Sudden cardiac death occurs with higher prevalence in competitive athletes than general population. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the Electrocardiographic (ECG) patterns among 6 – 17 year-old competitive athletes in Zanjan city.
Methods: 241 competitive athletes aged 6-17 years old were enrolled in this cross sectional study. ECG was performed for all study participants. Information including age, sex, height, weight, medical history and medications was collected.  Heart axis, QRS pattern, PR interval and QTC interval were evaluated.
Results: In this study, out of 241 patients, 49 (20.3%) of them had at least one abnormality in their electrocardiogram, and 5 had two abnormalities at the same time. Abnormal axis deviations (right or left) were the most common abnormal patterns and were seen among 35 (14.5%)   participants. QRS complex abnormality, prolonged QTC interval, rhythm abnormality (Non-sinus rhythm), and prolonged PR interval were seen in 34 (14.1%), 26 (10.8), 5 (2.1%), and 2 (0.8%) of participants, respectively. Frequency of electrocardiogram abnormalities in athletes over 13 years old was 28.1% (n=25) and in athletes under 13 years old was 15.8% (n=24), (p=0.022). This frequency was 18.2% (n=28) among boys and 24.2% (n=21) among girls. Finally, the frequency of electrocardiogram abnormalities was 23.8% (n=37) among athletes performing dynamic exercises and 14% (n=12) among athletes performing static exercises.
Conclusion: Our study showed that about one fifth of the studied athletes showed some type of electrocardiographic disorder. Abnormal heart axis, QRS complex abnormalities, prolonged QTc interval, sinus rhythm abnormalities, and prolonged PR interval were the most common electrocardiographic findings among our study population, respectively. According to the results of the study, age and electrocardiographic abnormalities had a significant relationship. Given the greater frequency of ECG disorders among athletes aged 6-17, it is recommended to use ECG as a routine screening tool in the same community (athletes 6-17 years old).


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