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Tuesday May 21st, 2024

Advancing Cardiac Health: Insights from HRS (Heart Rhythm Society) 2024 on Athlete Heart Safety and Remote Monitoring Technologies

By Brian Pitstick, CCO, B-Secur 


The B-Secur team had a great few days at this year’s HRS 2024 in Boston! The annual Heart Rhythm Society conference offered a treasure trove of insights, particularly on the topic of athlete heart health and the risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

While SCA is a rare occurrence, affecting between 1 in 40,000 to 1 in 80,000 athletes*, its impact is profound and often fatal. High-profile incidents, such as the Buffalo Bills’ Damar Hamlin’s collapse on the field last year due to Commotio Cordis, a type of ventricular fibrillation caused by a sudden strike to the chest, have brought this issue into the spotlight.

Other documented cases involving athletes with pre-existing heart conditions underscore the need for vigilant monitoring and management.

Key Takeaways from HRS 2024

  1. Shared Decision Making and Management Solutions

Recent advances have enabled many athletes with heart conditions to safely return to play (RTP) through shared decision making around risks and management solutions like Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs). These devices can monitor heart rhythms and deliver shocks if necessary to prevent cardiac arrest, allowing athletes to continue their careers while managing their heart health risks.

  1. Risks vs. Benefits of Physical Activity for Recreational Athletes

For recreational athletes with heart conditions, the decision to stop all physical activity can have significant downsides. Complete inactivity may lead to other health issues, suggesting that continuing to exercise with appropriate precautions might be the better option for overall well-being. This balance between risk and benefit is a key consideration for cardiologists and patients alike.

  1. Pre-Participation Screening Debates

There is ongoing debate about the benefits of pre-participation screening for all young athletes using 12-lead ECGs. While this screening can detect potential heart conditions, the current costs and logistical challenges are considerable. The potential for false positives and the stress they can cause for young athletes and their families also factor into this complex decision.

  1. Remote Cardiac Monitoring Technology

One compelling case study highlighted the use of consumer technology for heart health monitoring. A recreational cyclist used ECG tracings from his Apple Watch to detect early signs of heart abnormalities, providing critical data to his doctor. This example underscores the growing role of wearable technology in cardiac remote patient monitoring, making it easier for individuals to track their heart health in real time.

  1. Specific Risks for Different Types of Athletes

Endurance athletes are found to be five times more likely to develop atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition characterized by irregular heartbeats. On the other hand, participants in strength sports face a higher risk of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), where the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. Understanding these specific risks is crucial for developing tailored monitoring and intervention strategies.

The Growing Importance of Cardiac Monitoring

The global cardiac monitoring market is projected to reach USD 16 billion by 2030**, reflecting the increasing demand for advanced cardiac care technologies. At B-Secur, we are at the forefront of this movement, advancing heart health biosensing to make proactive monitoring and screening more accessible. By leveraging our innovative HeartKey software technology, we aim to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) incidents and enhance the overall heart health of athletes and the general population.

Our commitment to innovation in cardiology and sports tech is driven by the need to provide effective, user-friendly solutions for early detection and management of heart conditions. Whether through wearable devices, remote monitoring systems, or integrated health platforms, our goal is to empower individuals with the tools they need to take control of their heart health.

Looking ahead

B-Secur is dedicated to transforming cardiac care with innovative technology and comprehensive solutions. Our focus on biosensing and advanced monitoring techniques positions us to address critical heart health issues effectively. We are committed to delivering tangible improvements in early detection and prevention, reducing the incidence of SCD, and enhancing quality of life. Stay tuned for upcoming innovations and developments as we continue to lead the way in cardiac care.

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4969030/

**P&S Intelligence: Cardiac Monitoring Market Growth Forecast Report, 2022-2030