Background Psychological distress caused by cardiovascular pre-participation screening (PPS) may be a reason not to implement a PPS program. We assessed the psychological impact of PPS, including cardiac computed tomography (CT), in 318 asymptomatic sportsmen aged >= 45 years.
Methods Coronary artery disease (CAD) was defined as a coronary artery calcium score >= 100 Agatson units and/or >= 50% luminal stenosis on contrast-enhanced cardiac CT. Psychological impact was measured with the Impact of Event Scale (IES) (seven items) on a six-point scale (grade 0-5). A sum score >= 19 indicates clinically relevant psychological distress. A Likert scale was used to assess overall experiences and impact on sports and lifestyle.
Results A total of 275 participants (86.5% response rate, 95% CI 83-90%) with a mean age of 54.5 +/- 6.4 years completed the questionnaires, 48 (17.5%, 95% CI 13-22%) of whom had CAD. The median IES score was 1 (IQR 0-2, [0-23]). IES was slightly higher in those with CAD (mean rank 175 vs. 130, p <0.001). One participant (with CAD) experienced clinically relevant psychological distress (IES = 23). Participants reported numerous benefits, including feeling safer exercising (58.6%, 95% CI 53-65%) and positive lifestyle changes, especially in those with CAD (17.2 vs. 52.1%, p <0.001). The majority were satisfied with their participation (93.8%, 95% CI 91-97%).
Conclusion Cardiovascular PPS, including cardiac CT, causes no relevant psychological distress in older sportsmen. Psychological distress should not be a reason to forego screening in sportsmen.
- Coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA)
- Psychological stress
- HEART-ASSOCIATION COUNCIL
- SCIENTIFIC STATEMENT
- EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY
- WORKING GROUP