Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center

Main content of the page

Information about a piece of news titled Cardiac screening of 595 professional soccer players - new PhD

Cardiac screening of 595 professional soccer players - new PhD


On September 23, MD Hilde Moseby Berge will defend her PhD-thesis "The Norwegian athlete’s heart. Cardiac screening of 595 professional soccer players".


Cardiac screening and the challenges involved with that kind of screening were the driver for Hilde Moseby Berge (picture) who is a specialist in family medicine and sports medicine.



- The main aim of cardiac screening in athletes is to reduce the prevalence of sudden cardiac death. Electrocardiography (ECG) is a diagnostic tool to detect athletes at increased risk, but “abnormal” ECG findings related to training are common in athletes, and a challenge to distinguish from pathological ECG findings, explains Moseby Berge.


In 2008, 595 professional soccer players in Norway underwent cardiac screening and formed the basis for her PhD-work.





Blood pressure measurements important

Blood pressure (BP) was recorded during screening examinations, and high BP accounted for the highest prevalence of abnormal findings. This has neither been emphasized as an isolated finding, nor in association to other cardiovascular risk factors before.


Every 4th player had high normal BP, and there was a significant association between increasing BP, and subclinical organ damages.



Surprising results on high ambulatory blood pressure

High daytime ambulatory BP was estimated in every third player and high nighttime ambulatory BP in every second player.


The novel findings of masked hypertension and high nighttime BP are surprising, and the associations between BP and hypertensive subclinical organ damages emphasize the need for closer focus on BP measurements (read the article).



Different criteria to evaluate ECGs

By applying the new Seattle criteria for abnormality, the prevalence of abnormal ECGs was reduced to 11%.


Abnormal ECG findings were more common after computer-based vs visual measurements both according to the ESC recommendations (51% vs 29%), and the Seattle criteria (22% vs 11%).


The Seattle criteria for interpreting ECG in athletes reduced the need for follow-up investigations, and based on echocardiographic evaluations this reduction increased the specificity of the Seattle criteria, without increasing the number of false negative ECGs.


Echocardiography alone did not detect important abnormality. All players, except 2 with hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy, got medical clearance (read the article).


- We experienced several difficulties when trying to decide the prevalence of abnormal ECGs in athletes, and revealed a need for new definitions of “standard” methodology, stated Hilde Moseby Berge.



Associate professor Kjetil Steine, Institute for Clinical medicine, University of Oslo, has served as main supervisor for Hilde, in addition to Thor Einar Andersen from the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center.



Read more about Hilde´s projects.



Program for September 23 (Place: Gamle festsal, Urbygningen, Karl Johansgate, Oslo)


10:15-11:00: Trial lecture «Pre-participation cardiovascular screening of athletes, what should be done and in which populations?»

13:00-15:30: PhD defense




1. opponent: Dr. med. Christian Schmied, Outpatient Clinic and Sports Cardiology, University of Zürich, Switzerland

2. opponent: Professor Eva Nylander, Department of Medical and Health Science, University of Linköping, Sweden


Head: Professor Sverre Erik Kjeldsen, Institue for Clincal Medicine, University of Oslo



Trial lecture and PhD defense will be held in English and is open for public. WELCOME!