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Letters Response

Corrado and colleagues reply to Van Brabandt and colleagues

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 06 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i3631
  1. Domenico Corrado, full professor of cardiovascular medicine, University of Padua1,
  2. Cristina Basso, full professor of pathology, University of Padua2,
  3. Maurizio Schiavon, director3,
  4. Gaetano Thiene, full professor of pathology, University of Padua, and director2
  1. 1Cardiology, Azienda Ospedaliera Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, Via Giustiniani, 2, 35121 Padua, Italy
  2. 2Cardiovascular Pathology, Azienda Ospedaliera Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, Via Gabelli, 61, 35121 Padua, Italy
  3. 3Center of Sports Medicine, Department of Public Health, ULSS 16 Via dei Colli, 6/2, 35143 Padua, Italy
  1. gaetano.thiene{at}

We read with interest Van Brabandt and colleagues’ review questioning the utility of pre-participation screening in preventing sudden cardiac death (SCD) in sports activity.1 The paper is not a balanced “pro and cons” analysis; rather, it seems to be a direct attack on the Italian screening programme and on the researchers who provided scientific evidence that cardiovascular evaluation of athletes is a lifesaving strategy based on more than 30 years’ experience in the Veneto region, northeast Italy.2 3 4 5 6

The paper was signed by laypersons with no experience in the field of sports cardiology, who provided a personal viewpoint and omitted the “real world” opinion of thousands of international physicians daily involved in athlete evaluation who favoured the need for pre-participation screening.7

The authors started by mistakenly reporting that Italy’s screening of competitive athletes has been mandatory since 1979. Instead, screening has been in place by law in Italy since 1982,8 which would be the correct starting point for evaluating its impact on mortality. This initial inaccuracy jeopardises the entire analysis.

The inaccuracy is confirmed by the authors’ statement that the usefulness of ECG screening is confined to detecting athletes with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, when in fact the main strength is …

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