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Nieca Goldberg, MD

Medical Director of Atria New York City

Clinical Associate Professor, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

A National Spokesperson for the American Heart Association

Founder and Former Medical Director, Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health

Dr. Nieca Goldberg is Medical Director of Atria New York City and Clinical Associate Professor of medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. She was the Co-Medical Director of the 92nd Street Y’s Cardio Rehab Program. Dr. Goldberg is a cardiologist, author, and podcast host of “Beyond the Heart – Improving Your Health One Conversation at a Time,” and a nationally recognized pioneer in women’s heart health.  

Dr. Goldberg is a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and started the “Go Red for Women” campaign. Before joining Atria New York City, she was medical director of NYU Women’s Heart Program, Senior Advisor of Women’s Health Strategy NYU Langone Health, the founder, and Medical Director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

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Screenings for Young Athletes

Ask the Expert

This article has been archived. We will no longer be updating it. For our most up-to-date information, please visit our heart disease information here.

Q:

When I read about young athletes dying suddenly from a heart problem, I wonder if I should have my teenaged sons tested. Is there such a test? Our family has a history of heart disease.

A:

Although very rare, there are instances in which seemingly healthy young athletes suddenly collapse and die. The most common cause is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which part of the heart muscle thickens, disrupting electrical signals throughout the heart and the arrangement of heart muscle cells.

Unfortunately, most schools do not adequately screen young athletes for heart problems, even though the American Heart Association recommends a 12-item screening process that could reduce the risk of sudden death. The screening includes a personal history, blood pressure, family history and physical examination. It should be administered every two years for high school athletes; every three years for college athletes.

The AHA does not recommend electrocardiograms unless the initial screening shows a family history of sudden death, Marfan syndrome, unexplained fainting, hear murmur or high blood pressure. If so, the athlete should be referred for further cardiovascular examination.

I suggest you ask your family health care professional to screen your sons using the AHA tool. And make sure you provide a full description of your family's history of heart disease.

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