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Sports cardiology clinic

While physical activity offers many benefits, there are also dangers, including a small increased risk of heart attack or sudden cardiac death during vigorous exercise.

Compared to being at rest, a physically fit man's risk of a heart attack increases seven-fold during exercise, while a sedentary male's heart attack risk increases 50 times. Atherosclerotic plaque buildup in the heart arteries is the typical underlying cause of heart attacks or sudden cardiac death during exercise in those over 35.

Young competitive athletes are not immune from cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death during physical exertion, either. While relatively rare, the death of a young, apparently healthy athlete is an unexpected, traumatic event. The most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, followed by other miscellaneous cardiovascular conditions.

The Sports Cardiology Clinic, under the direction of sports cardiologist Dr. C. Patrick Green, helps athletes stay active and participating in sports while ensuring their continued safety. The clinic sports cardiologists conduct:


Screening for asymptomatic competitive athletes, including young competitive athletes (ages 18 - 35) for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and athletes ages 36-plus for coronary artery disease.


Evaluation of athletes with symptoms of possible cardiovascular disease, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, dizziness or fainting during exercise. Evaluations are tailored to the athlete's specific situation and may include:

  • A thorough review of the patient's medical history and symptoms
  • Review of athletic history and goals
  • Complete cardiovascular physical exam
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Exercise treadmill testing, cardiovascular imaging (echocardiography, cardiovascular CT)
  • Lab testing
  • Recommendation regarding athletic competition, levels of exertion during exercise, etc.


Consultation for athletes with known cardiovascular disease on exercise, including levels of
exertion during exercise and athletic competition.

To make an appointment with sports cardiologist C. Patrick Green, please call our Fort Collins office at 970.221.1000 or our Loveland office at 970.624.1800.

Heart Center of the Rockies accept patients 18 years and older. Sports cardiology patients may play sports at any level, from recreational to high-level athletic competition.

When to consider evaluation in the Sports Cardiology Clinic:

  • Family history of sudden death at a young age (< 45 yrs old)
  • Symptoms of shortness of breath and/or chest discomfort during exertion
  • Symptoms of palpitations, dizziness or passing out, especially during or immediately after exertion
  • Evaluation of an unexplained decline in athletic performance
  • Before beginning an exercise program (for previously sedentary individuals)
  • Clearance to exercise in patients with known heart disease or prior cardiovascular surgery
  • Assessment of long-term cardiovascular risk factors

About our program director

Dr. Green has been with the Heart Center since 1999. He is board-certified in adult cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and cardiovascular CT. He has a personal interest in sports, exercise and the role cardiovascular fitness plays in reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. As an athlete himself, he understands the importance of sports and remaining active.


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