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

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

Question

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.

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