Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

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Information about project titled 'ECG related to echocardiographic findings in Norwegian elite football players'

ECG related to echocardiographic findings in Norwegian elite football players

Details about the project - category Details about the project - value
Project status: Published
Project manager: Hilde Moseby Berge
Supervisor(s): Kjetil Steine, Erik Ekker Solberg, Thor Einar Andersen
Coworker(s): Gard Gjerdalen


There is limited knowledge of athletes’ heart. The expression “athlete’s heart” refers to physiological adaptations to strenuous exercise. The challenge is to know the difference between these changes and pathological changes. No data is available regarding screening results from Nordic countries. The need for redefining normal ECG values of athletes is evident.

The present study evaluates cardiac screening among male Norwegian football players in the elite divisions, describing demographic data, electrocardiography (ECG) and echocardiographic findings. All results are compared to a control group.



1) To conduct a complete examination of Norwegian elite football players based on patient history, ECG and related echocardiographic findings

2) To relate ECG findings to corresponding echocardiographic findings



The project included 594 football players in 28 of 30 eligible teams of the two Norwegian elite divisions and 43 age-matched controls. ECG and echocardiography was recorded at least one hour after physical activity. The interpretation of ECG will be carried out according to the new recommendations for interpretation of 12-lead ECG in the athlete, published in December 2009.

They classify the abnormalities in two groups; 1) common and training-related ECG changes and 2) uncommon and training-unrelated ECG-changes. The latter changes need work-up to exclude or confirm the suspicion of an underlying cardiovascular condition carrying the risk of sudden death during sports. The emphasis of the echo was to detect pathological findings, especially cardiomyopathies, and to describe the athlete's heart. Measurements on ECG will be compared to the gold standard 2-dimentional echocardiography to verify false or true positive findings on ECG.


Expectations and hypothesis

We will be able to establish new reference values for physiological and pathological changes in Norwegian athletes’ heart.

We will be able to determine the value of ECG as a screening tool in Norwegian athletes, when positive and negative findings are compared to the gold standard.