Table 1

Summary of studies that compared the ventricular arrhythmic burden at 24-hour ambulatory ECG monitoring in apparently healthy athletes and sedentary controls

ReferenceAthletes/Controls (n)Type of athletesPrevalence of VAsImaging for underlying cardiac disease
Viitasalo et al 18 35/35Young endurance (23±6 years).Rare isolated PVBs: 29% of athletes and 31% of controls (p=0.79).
Frequent PVBs or complex VA: 6% of athletes and 11% of controls (p=0.67).
N/A.
Viitasalo et al 19
35/35Adolescent athletes (14–16 years).≥1 PVB: 60% of athletes and 57% of controls (p=0.80).N/A.
Talan et al 17 20/50Young marathon runners (19–29 years).≥1 PVB: 70% of athletes and 50% of controls (p=0.13).
>50 PVBs or ≥1 complex VA: 10% of athletes and 6% of controls (p=1.0).
N/A.
Pilcher et al 16 80/0Young and middle-aged runners (mean 30 years old).≥1 PVB: 50% of athletes.
>50 PVBs: 7.5% of athletes.
Complex VA: 4% of athletes.
N/A.
Palatini et al 14 40/40Young endurance athletes
(20±7 years).
≥1 PVB: 70% of athletes and 55% of controls (p=0.17).
>30 PVBs or complex VA: 13% of athletes and 0% of controls (p=0.12).
Echocardiography in all.
Bjørnstad et al 15 60/30Young athletes.No differences between cases and controls in rare PVBs.
No complex forms.
N/A.
Zorzi et al 20 288/144Young competitive athletes engaged in ≥6 hours of sports per week (16–35 years).≥1 PVB: 59% of athletes and 40% of controls (p<0.001).
≥1 complex VA: 6% of athletes and 8% of controls (p=1.0).
>10 PVBs or ≥1 complex VA (primary endpoint): 10% of athletes and 11% of controls (p=0.62).
Echocardiography if ≥10 isolated PVBs or ≥1 complex VA.
CMR if ≥500 PVBs, complex VA and/or exercise-induced PVBs.
Zorzi et al 21 134/134Middle-aged endurance athletes engaged in ≥6 hours of sports per week (30–60 years).≥1 PVB: 79% of athletes and 73% of controls (p=0.25).
≥1 complex VA: 10% of athletes and 9% of controls (p=0.8).
>500 PVBs: 7% of athletes and 5% of controls p=0.30).
>10 PVBs or ≥1 complex VA (primary endpoint): 26% of athletes and 23% of controls (p=0.53).
Exercise testing and echocardiography in all.
  • Complex VAs included couplets, triplets or non-sustained ventricular tachycardia.

  • CMR, cardiac magnetic resonance; N/A, not available; PVBs, premature ventricular beats; VA, ventricular arrhythmias.