ZocdocAnswersCan I still play basketball for high school if I have an irregular heartbeat?

Question

Can I still play basketball for high school if I have an irregular heartbeat?

I am 17, male.

Answer

The answer to this question entirely depends on the cause of your irregular heartbeat, so it is important to speak with your physician. When physicians assess in a regular heartbeat it usually starts with an electrocardiogram. If no abnormal rhythm is found on the EKG, which only accounts for about 30 seconds of your rhythm, then a physician might order a Holter monitor which is a method by which a heart rhythm can be monitored over a longer period of time. In adults the main cause of an irregular heartbeat is a rhythm called atrial fibrillation. It is actually quite uncommon in young healthy people and thus I would not suspect that this is the cause in you. If have heart palpitations and this is the cause of your "your irregular heart rate" then this requires a work up for a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition that we see in young people and can result in sudden cardiac death. For these reasons a pre-sports physical exam is always recommended. This can be completed by her primary care physician which in your case could be either a family physician or pediatrician. The physician will listen to your heart and listen for murmurs. If a murmur is heard then you will need further workup with an echocardiogram. If all this is normal, your physician will likely clear you to play basketball.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.