Sports Cardiology Services
The doctors, nurses and therapists in the Northwestern Medicine Sports Cardiology Program understand what it means to be an athlete and participate in sports. They know how important sports participation is to your overall sense of well-being.
To help you achieve your athletic goals, we provide consultation that "speaks athlete." We will sift through your training logs to look for diagnostic clues. We will listen to you when you tell us how your symptoms concern you and how you feel they limit you. We will take the time to explain the options and the risks, and work with you to develop a treatment plan that takes into account your unique preferences as an athlete.
Advanced cardiac testing
Our leading-edge clinical care protocols will help us understand how your heart adapts to support your unique athletic needs. We offer advanced cardiac testing interpreted by a team of doctors who understand the athletic heart and interpret your test results with your athletic background in mind.
The testing we offer includes:
An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. It uses sound waves to look at the structure and function of the heart without radiation. In an athlete, echocardiograms can be very useful for getting an overview of how the heart is working and to look for a wide variety of heart disorders, including problems with the valves, enlargement of the heart or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Cardiac magnetic resonance imagingCardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide stunning details about how the heart is structured and can help diagnose abnormalities such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an enlarged aorta or rare disorders of the right and left ventricles. A leading-edge MRI application called 4-D Flow is being used in ongoing research protocols to help understand how the heart and the aorta work together to maximize cardiac function.
Cardiac computed tomography angiographyA cardiac computed tomography angiography (CTA) is an extremely useful technique for diagnosing coronary artery disease and for understanding abnormalities of coronary artery origins, a major cause of sudden death in athletes.
Stress testing and cardiopulmonary exercise testingA stress test is a very useful tool for understanding fitness of the athlete, evaluating for blockages in the coronary arteries and eliciting symptoms in a controlled environment that may occur during training. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing allows for measurement of maximal oxygen consumption (VO2Max) and computation of lactate threshold.
As part of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, the Sports Cardiology Program will tailor an individualized treatment plan that not only diagnoses and treats your underlying heart and/or vascular condition, but works towards returning you to optimal, safe athletic participation.