Atrial Fibrillation in Athletes

Written by: Dr. Ernesto Díaz Infante
Published: | Updated: 14/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in humans. AF in children under 50 years of age occurs in less than 1% of the population, but its incidence increases with age, affecting up to 10% of those over 80 years.

However, it has been known for some years that the usual practice of sports influences the development of AF. In fact, their appearance is more frequent in endurance athletes who are highly trained and who have spent years doing very intense and stressful exercises. In addition, between the ages of 40 and 50, the occurrence of AF in this patient profile is more frequent than in people of their age who have not performed those levels of exercise.


Causes of Atrial Fibrillation

There are several causes that explain it, among which stand out

  • Continued sport generates fibrosis in the atria (such as premature aging)
  • High parasympathetic tone at rest causes bradycardia (less than 60 beats per minute)

As in the general population, the focus that usually triggers it is found in the pulmonary veins.


Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation

The options of treatment of the FA in athletes are:

  • Reduce the practice of sport : the problem is that most athletes are not willing to do so. In addition, although the degree of training is reduced, it is often not possible to improve the pathology once it has started.
  • Drugs : In many cases are not a good option, as they produce bradycardia and can reduce sports performance.
  • Electrical isolation of the pulmonary veins : performed with radiofrequency or cryobalon. It is the best option in many cases, especially in those patients who want to continue to practice sports and / or have symptomatic seizures.

More information on Dr's website. Ernesto Díaz Infante

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Ernesto Díaz Infante

Specialist in Cardiology. Dr. Ernesto Diaz Infante is the rate Doctorate of“Excellent Cum Laude by Unanimous” University of Seville where he teaches as an associate at the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Diaz Infante is currently the Director of the Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Unit, Virgen Macarena Hospital in Nisa Hospital and Alcor (Sevilla ). He has won numerous awards including the Special Award of the degree of Bachelor, as the Nº1 of the Promotion of Medicine from 1991 to 1997 at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Seville and the First Prize for the Best Oral Communication in meetings of the Section of Electrophysiology and Arrhythmias of the years 2009 and 2010.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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