Duke's sports cardiologists work with the entire spectrum of athletes with heart disease. We counsel you about your limitations and and help you continue to compete in a manner that meets your personal needs and desires while minimizing your health risk.
Dedicated sports cardiology clinic
Athletes who are driven to perform and committed to regular exercise do not want to be told what they cannot do when it comes to the sport or activity they love. As sports cardiologists who specialize in the treatment of athletes with heart disease, we understand your needs. Whether you were born with a heart condition, were recently found to be at risk for, or were recently diagnosed with a form of heart disease, we help you maintain a level of exercise that is right for you. Our comprehensive assessments, advanced diagnostic testing, and coordination with the full range of heart specialists help you manage your disease while safely maintaining your activity and optimizing your performance goals.
We work closely with:
- College and professional athletes suspected of having or diagnosed with heart issues
- Undergraduate NCAA athletes with screening issues
- Professional and non-professional athletes seeking mid-career assessment for diabetes, heart disease or stroke risk
- Athletes of all ages who seek diagnosis, counseling and advice for continuing your optimal performance
Choose Duke for your sports cardiology care because we offer
- Athlete-specific recommendations. We take into account your attitude toward performance and your need to exercise. We provide personalized recommendations for treatment plans that keep your goals top of mind.
- Coordinated care. Our clinic allows us to assess your issue, and coordinate your prompt referral to heart specialists. We facilitate and arrange for any needed follow-up testing and treatment in a timely fashion.
- A team of specialists. Our heart specialists include experts in abnormal heart rhythm disorders, congenital heart disease and genetics, as well as the full range of heart disease concerns. We work as a team to provide you with optimal care.
- High-tech imaging expertise. Our imaging experts use the most advanced technology available, and are skilled in interpreting tests results and distinguishing between normal and abnormal findings that can be misdiagnosed in athletes.
- Genetic screening and counseling. Our genetic counselors conduct comprehensive screening to detect congenital heart conditions that may first show signs in athletes as young as high school, and through middle age. Our genetic heart specialists offer specialized care and advanced treatment options.
- Cardiac screening and rehabilitation. We screen athletes for participation in sporting events, as well as those who are concerned about heart issues. If you have experienced a heart attack or undergone heart surgery, we coordinate your cardiac rehabilitation to return you to a safe level of exercise that’s right for you.
Our sports cardiologists will review records, your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and may order the following tests in order to diagnose your condition and create a personalized treatment plan.
Blood tests measure cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fats in your blood that can affect your heart. Glucose levels and hemoglobin A1c may be checked for diabetes or pre-diabetes. Thyroid function and other tests look for associated endocrine abnormalities. Tests may also look for the presence of C-reactive protein, which can indicate the presence of inflammation in your body.
Creates images of the moving heart without exposure to radiation.
Radio waves, magnets and a computer create still and moving images of the heart and vessels. We are expanding the use of MRI as opposed to radiation, which can be harmful in patients who require frequent and lifelong testing.
X-rays create 3-D image of your heart.
Catheters are threaded into the heart to record the heart's electrical activity.
Evaluates the heart’s pumping function. A chemical agent is injected into the bloodstream and a highly sensitive camera records the heart’s ability to take in blood, both at rest and during exercise.
In addition to diagnosing rare conditions of your heart that may present at later age, there are now several genetic tests that can help predict your maximal performance capacity and potential for your particular activity or sport.