10 December 2004
The "Lausanne Recommendations", a consensus paper on the prevention of sudden death, has been adopted today under the umbrella of the IOC Medical Commission at the meeting on "Sudden Cardiovascular Death in Sport" in Lausanne. The meeting of the ad hoc working group on Sudden Cardiovascular Death in sport, coordinated by Professor Erik J. Meijboom of the University Hospital Centre in Lausanne (CHUV) brought together a group of experts.
"Sudden death" in sport is always a dramatic event and has to be fully appreciated. The leading cause (more than 90%) of non-traumatic sudden death of athletes is related to pre-existing cardiac abnormality.
Definition of sudden cardiovascular death
For the purpose of these recommendations, sudden cardiovascular death is defined as:
Death occurring within one hour of the onset of symptoms in a person without a previously recognised cardiovascular condition that would appear fatal: this excludes cerebrovascular, respiratory, traumatic and drug related causes.
Identify athletes at risk
The purpose of these recommendations is to identify, as accurately as possible, athletes at risk in order to advise them accordingly. The "Lausanne Recommendations" introduce the principle of preparticipation cardiovascular screening in sport, including four elements: the personal history of the athlete, his/her family history, a physical examination and an electrocardiogram.