Book Review: Cardiac Athletes

CardiacAthletesBookHot off the press is a new book by Lars Andrews, entitled simply, Cardiac Athletes.  I had a chance to read the book over the July 4th holiday weekend and I thought I’d share some details here at the blog.  I enjoyed the book and recommend it highly.

Lars Andrews is the founder of Cardiac Athletes, the worldwide support community for athletes with heart disease.  I’ve written previously here at the blog about the organization’s many activities.  You can find them online at their website and also on Facebook.  If you’re an athlete with heart disease, you’ll find an active online forum that helps athlete patients make useful connections with others in similar circumstances.  On the charitable front, the organization raises money to support donation of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) to communities in need and to support cardiac screening programs for athletes.

This new book will be good reading for a variety of folks–athletes, of course, with heart disease; healthcare workers who care for these athlete patients; and pretty much anybody who enjoys reading inspirational personal stories from athletes.

Andrew LaGerche, MBBS, PhD, a physician-scientist, himself a talented endurance athlete, and with a long professional interest in athletes and heart disease, writes a great Foreword.  In the Preface, Andrews details the history and evolution of the Cardiac Athletes organization and sets the stage for the remainder of the book.  The Introduction features his take on 10 repeating themes that will be found in the athlete stories:  cardiac athletes are pioneers; we need sports cardiology centres; are we starting to see a post athletic epidemic?; would preschool screening be bad?, among others.

The bulk of the book is a collection of the personal stories from 17 athletes affected by heart disease.  Each athlete shares his/her journey from the discovery of their problem, through its diagnosis and treatment, and the long-term consequences.  In many cases, there are illustrations which bring clarity to the specific heart problem being described.  This is very helpful to non-medical readers who won’t be familiar with the details.  Each chapter is a rare, honest look at how these athletes approach sport in the context of heart disease.  These stories are just very real.

At the end is a useful glossary of terms that will make the book more accessible and also a useful reference, or reading list.

The book is currently available in print form for $14.98 from Create Space.  Proceeds from the book will go to the Cardiac Athletes Trust Fund to support the organization’s charitable activities.



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  1. Chuck Kessler says

    I now have a pacemaker. I’m in the process of seeing just how far I can go in my usual workout routines. Any suggestions for athletes with pacemakers?

    • Larry Creswell, MD says

      That’s a difficult question to answer from afar. There are just so many different reasons to need a pacemaker.

      Check here at the blog. I’ve written previously about pacemakers and athletes.

      Good questions for your doctor(s) would be:
      1. What’s safe, in terms of exercise?
      2. Can the pacemaker settings be adjusted to best allow me to exercise as I’d like?
      3. Are there precautions I should take?

  2. Chuck Kessler says

    Thank you. I needed a pacemaker because of AFib and A1 heart block. I have checked with my doctor. He tells me to continue my activities. I recently had my pacemaker adjusted, which thus far seems to help my skiing. I was running short of breath too early before the adjustment.

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