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Sports Cardiology Center

Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute's Sports Cardiology Center has emerged as a national leader in preventing, detecting and managing cardiovascular issues in athletes and highly active individuals, so they can safely participate in sports and activities.

Recent Highlights

Recent Highlights

Providing echo quality assurance review for the National Basketball Association (NBA): Sanger’s Sports Cardiology Center, along with Sanger Cardiac Imaging, have newly partnered with the NBA to provide a quality assurance review process of all echocardiograms completed during the screening of NBA and WNBA players league-wide. This includes almost 900 players. The goal is to ensure echocardiograms meet appropriate standards and protocols. 

Evaluating high school and college athletes: We partnered with sports medicine physicians from Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute to evaluate ECGs on 1,000+ high school and college athletes, to ensure they are healthy to play. 

Screening athletes in the National Football League (NFL) Draft Combine: The director of Sanger’s Sports Cardiology Center traveled to Indianapolis to evaluate and provide consultation on the heart health of potential future NFL players. 

Leading the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) national conference: The director of Sanger’s Sports Cardiology Center served as the 2022 course chair for the ACC national Sports Cardiology Conference, which focused on the care of the athletic heart.

Screening athletes in the Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft Combine: Sanger’s Sports Cardiology Center team, including cardiologists, sonographers and nurses, traveled to the MLB combine in San Diego to screen 150+ elite baseball players for heart conditions. The goal is to ensure they’re healthy to play their sport as they pursue professional baseball careers. 

Sports Cardiology group photo.

Latest Research

Sanger’s Sports Cardiology Center is collaborating with the Mayo Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital to evaluate outcomes of elite athletes with cardiac conditions that predispose them to sudden death.

Our team is represented on the steering committee and the investigator panel for the Outcomes Registry for Cardiac Conditions in Athletes. This registry was instrumental in developing our understanding of cardiac risk related to COVID-19 in athletes. It’s now focusing on the natural history of young competitive athletes diagnosed with cardiovascular disease associated with major adverse cardiovascular events. As a result of this work, seven papers have been published since 2021 and multiple new papers are in development.

We developed a new Sports Cardiology Registry based on a new screening questionnaire to help providers understand the athlete’s exercise, training history and cardiovascular condition. This can also serve as a repository of sports cardiology patient data from which clinical outcomes can be measured, practice standards developed, and existing gaps in medical knowledge for the management of this population filled.

Atrium Health is the official health care provider for:

Charlotte FC, Carolina Panthers, Davidson College, Winthrop University, UNCC Charlotte, Charlotte Motor Speedway.

We are cardiology consultants for the NBA, WNBA, NFL Scouting Combine and MLB Draft Combine.

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • Winthrop University.
  • Carolina Panthers.
  • Charlotte Football Club.
  • Davidson College.
  • University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Publications and Presentations

Recommendations for Multimodality Cardiovascular Imaging of Patients with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: An Update From The American Society of Echocardiography, in Collaboration With the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance And the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. Nagueh SF, Phelan D, Abraham T, Armour A, Desai MY, Dragulescu A, Gilliland Y, Lester SJ, Maldonado Y, Mohiddin S, Nieman K, Sperry BW, Woo A. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2022 Jun;35(6):533-569. PMID: 35659037. 

Myocarditis In the Athlete: A Focus On COVID-19 Sequelae. Symanski JD, Tso JV, Phelan D, Kim JH. Clin Sports Med. 2022 Jul;41(3):455-472. PMID: 35710272.  

2022 ACC Expert Consensus Decision Pathway on Cardiovascular Sequelae of COVID-19 in Adults: Myocarditis and Other Myocardial Involvement, Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Return to Play: A Report of the American College of Cardiology Solution Set Oversight Committee. Gluckman TJ, Bhave NM, Allen LA, Chung EH, Spatz ES, Ammirati E, Baggish AL, Bozkurt B, Cornwell WK 3rd, Harmon KG, Kim JH, Lala A, Levine BD, Martinez MW, Onuma O, Phelan D, Puntmann VO, Rajpal S, Taub PR, Verma AK. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Mar 14; S0735-1097(22)00306-0. PMID: 35307156. 

When To Consider Cardiac MRI In the Evaluation of the Competitive Athlete After SARS-CoV-2 Infection. Phelan D, Kim JH, Drezner JA, Elliott MD, Martinez MW, Chung EH, Krishan S, Levine BD, Baggish AL. Br J Sports Med. 2022 Jan 27:bjsports-2021-104750. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-104750. PMID: 35086807.  

Bystander Interventions and Survival After Exercise-Related Sudden Cardiac Arrest: A Systematic Review.
Grubic N, Hill B, Phelan D, Baggish A, Dorian P, Johri AM. Br J Sports Med. 2022 Apr;56(7):410-416. PMID: 34853034.  

Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction in Athletes Compared to the World Alliance Societies of Echocardiography Normal Values. Parizher G, Phelan D, Emery MS. J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2022 Feb;35(2):234-235. PMID: 34627972. 
Wearable Technologies for Cardiac Monitoring. Drummond CK, Hsu HJ, Phelan D, Seshardri D, Emery MS. Advances in Cardiovascular Technology 2022. ISBN: 978-0-323-95878-3. 

Myocarditis in the Athlete: A Focus On COVID-19 Sequelae. Symanski JD, Tso JV, Phelan DM, Kim JH. Clin Sports Med. Volume 41, Number 3. July 2022. ISSN 0278-5919, ISBN-12: 978-0-323-8888-6.  
Advanced Imaging and Exercise Prescription in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Big Hearted Warriors Tour for HCMA. September 15, 2022.

A Sports Cardiologist’s Approach to the Strength Athlete with Aortopathy. American College of Cardiology, Care of the Athletic Heart. June 3, 2022. 

The Young Athlete – Challenging Cases. Moderator. American College of Cardiology, Care of the Athletic Heart. June 3, 2022. 

Hot Topics in Sports Cardiology. Panelist. American College of Cardiology, Care of the Athletic Heart. June 3, 2022. 

Shared Decision Making and Competitive Sporting Participation: How I Counsel My Athletic Patient with Heart Disease. Moderator. American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions, April 2022. 

Athlete With a Dilated Aorta. ACC Scientific Sessions, April 2022. 

Myocarditis in Competitive Athletes: Significance, Imaging Considerations and COVID-19 Controversies. Moderator. ACC Scientific Sessions, April 2022. 

Care of the Athletic Heart. 12th Annual Dr. J. Lee Garvey Jr Chest Pain Summit, February 2022.   

Does Cardiovascular Preparticipation Screening Cause Psychological Distress in Athletes? Hill B, Williamson M, Grubic N, Phelan D, Baggish AL, Dorian P, Johri A. A Systematic Review Abstract Presentation. American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2022 Mar, 79 (9_Supplement) 1982.