Abstract 16812: Aortic Size in National Football League Scouting Combine Participants
Aortic rupture is an uncommon but feared cause of sudden death in athletes. Identification of athletes at risk is a goal of pre-participation screening programs, and some athletes may be excluded from participation on the basis of aortic size. Normative data exist, based on sex, height, age and other factors. Players in the National Football League are elite athletes and over the last three decades, have increased in size and strength. Players routinely weigh in excess of 300 lbs. We systematically screened potential NFL draftees for aortic size prior to participation in the NFL scouting combine. Each player underwent a resting echocardiogram. Aortic size was measured from the two dimensional parasternal long axis view according to the criteria of the American Society of Echocardiography. Measurements were performed off line by two expert technicians, and confirmed by an expert echocardiographer from the Indiana University Health System.
The screening program covered three years of participants, and 968 players were screened. There were no players with inadequate images to measure aortic size. The 75th percentile for aortic size was 2.96 cm. The 90th percentile was 3.18 cm. The 95th percentile was 3.33, and the 99th percentile was 3.61 cm. Only one player had an aorta > 4.0 cm. (0.1% of all screened).
An aorta > 4.0 cm. even in very large, elite athletes is uncommon.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.