The sports cardiology team helps athletes optimize their performance while protecting their heart. From professional athletes to weekend warriors, we provide comprehensive care for all active adults.
Why choose the UCLA Health Sports Cardiology Program?
The UCLA Health Sports Cardiology Program is the first and only program of its kind in Los Angeles. We provide comprehensive cardiovascular care to safely optimize athletes’ physical performance. Our internationally recognized center cares for all types of athletes, ranging from professional athletes to “weekend warriors” to adults who simply want to increase their physical activity.
Highlights of our program include:
Targeted treatment: We comprehensively assess your heart health to create informed, targeted treatment plans. Our specialists also treat athletes with known heart diseases, risk factors for heart disease or genetic conditions. We provide guidance to help you safely participate in competitive sports or intense physical activity.
Team-based approach: Multiple specialists work together to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment. Our team includes cardiologists in the Ahmanson/UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, UCLA Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, Ahmanson/UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center , UCLA Interventional Cardiology Center , Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic , UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Center and UCLA Cardiac Rehabilitation Program.
Research focus: Our physicians are active researchers as well as clinical providers. We continually study and develop new therapies and technologies, bringing athletes the most promising new treatments. Eligible patients may have the opportunity to receive treatments in a clinical trial.
National recognition: Many of our cardiovascular programs and services have achieved regional and national recognition for outstanding care. We are the only Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center of Excellence in Southern California, and the Los Angeles Lakers partner with us as their cardiology provider of choice.
What to expect at your sports cardiology appointment
Your first visit with our sports cardiology team is an opportunity to get to know you and understand your needs. We’ll assess your medical history, discuss your personal and athletic goals and ask you about your symptoms, if applicable. Then, we develop an individualized plan to meet your needs.
Know what to expect and how to prepare for your first visit:
- Download and fill out our customized questionnaire (PDF). This provides us with a comprehensive summary of your goals.
- Meet with a sports cardiology nurse who takes your vital signs. The nurse may also perform a 12-lead electrocardiogram, a test that uses small electrodes attached to your body to record your heart’s electrical activity.
- Consult with a sports cardiologist, who takes a full medical history and performs a physical exam. Your cardiologist takes the time to understand your goals and create a plan for how we can help you achieve them.
- Complete further cardiac testing, if recommended by your sports cardiologist.
Who needs a sports cardiologist?
We treat a full range of heart conditions in athletes. Our services may be appropriate for athletes and active adults with:
- Diagnosed heart conditions, including athlete’s heart
- Heart problems present at birth (congenital heart defects), such as arrhythmias or cardiomyopathy
- Risk factors for heart disease, such as a family history of sudden heart attacks, high blood pressure or diabetes
Tests and services we offer
Our team provides full assessments to gain a comprehensive understanding of your heart health. If you need additional cardiac tests, UCLA Health specialists offer the full spectrum of testing options, including:
Advanced imaging studies: Cardiac CT scans, cardiac MRI and cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) to get a closer look at the heart’s structures and blood flow
Cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET): A test to measure the heart’s ability to deliver oxygen throughout the body during exercise
Echocardiogram: A heart ultrasound that evaluates the structure and function of the heart muscle and valves
Exercise stress test: A test to monitor the heart during exercise
Laboratory tests: Blood tests to measure levels of blood cells and electrolytes, as well as assess the function of other vital organs, such as the kidneys, liver or thyroid
The sports cardiology team at UCLA Health also provides:
- Cardiovascular assessments and clearance for professional athletes to participate in competitive sports
- Consultations with cardiovascular genetic cardiologists and counselors
- Evaluation of new symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, fainting or palpitations
- Guidance for patients with a history of heart disease who want to participate in competitive sports or moderate-to-intense physical activity
- Identification of normal versus abnormal changes in the heart structure and function in athletes
- Second opinions for patients with pre-existing heart disease who want to participate in intense physical activity
Our sports cardiology team includes multiple subspecialists who provide state-of-the-art care. We perform comprehensive assessments that inform our targeted, effective treatment plans. We are clinical leaders and active researchers, bringing new treatment options through clinical trials.