STUDY/PRINCIPLES: To assess the effects of an "on-site" prevention and education programme to improve the cardiac screening in competitive amateur athletes.
METHODS: We integrated an "on-site prevention and education programme" at the 2012 edition of the Swiss Alpine Marathon in Davos, Switzerland. After a specific lecture, the athletes could visit a "Sports-Cardiology-Section" at the official "medical-park". On an anonymised questionnaire, they could state their intention for a screening programme in general and after our "on-site" intervention.
RESULTS: Among the 150 athletes who attended the medical day (3.3% of 4,500 finishers) the response rate was 82%. While 39 (31.7%) athletes were aware of "exercise related SCD", more than twice as many (64.2%) were not. 72.4% of the participants (n = 89) reported that they never had taken part in cardiac screening examinations. 70.7% (n = 87) runners were convinced that they would benefit from such a screening. 65.9% (n = 81) of the runners stated that our "on-site" prevention concept influenced their decision to consider a cardiac screening in the future.
CONCLUSION: An "on-site prevention and education" concept for the prevention of SCD in competitive amateur athletes is feasible and successfully increased the athletes' awareness of the issue. The vast majority of athletes felt to have benefited from such a programme. The current study confirms that there is an alarming lack of preventive measures in the very large group of ambitious, competitive, amateur athletes that are frequently underprepared for challenging sports events.