Screening as prevention
By using a standardised cardiovascular screening, potential causes for sudden death (SD) can be detected and treated in the early stages, which leads to a reduction in the incidence of SD. For various reasons (including different healthcare structures of individual countries, as well as regionally different distribution patterns of cardiac diseases) there is currently no international consensus regarding a standardised medical screening between the various professional medical associations. In Italy, a nationwide programme, including a systematic evaluation of competitive athletes prior to participation, was introduced in 1982. This programme led to a significant reduction of SD in young athletes, in particular through the prevention of sudden cardiac death on the basis of cardiomyopathies. The current recommendations of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are not entirely in accordance with the recommendation of the American Heart Association (AHA). This difference is mainly attributed to varying cost-benefit ratios. FIFA has made a wide range of medical examinations mandatory for professional football players before they are allowed to compete in FIFA competitions.