The UAB Sports Medicine Cardiology Clinic helps young athletes with heart (cardiac) problems return to the playing field quickly and safely – including patients affected by COVID-19. Located at UAB Hospital-Highlands, the clinic is a partnership between the UAB Medicine Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and the Department of Family and Community Medicine.
Opened in May 2021, the highly specialized clinic focuses on young athletes who need cardiac care along with sports medicine treatment. Serious heart conditions are sometimes seen with COVID-19 cases, so we recommend a medical evaluation for all young athletes who had COVID-19 and experienced symptoms.
The clinic treats conditions such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) – a blood circulation disorder – as well as post-COVID-19 conditions that are common among young athletes, especially cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle tissue) and fatigue.
Although the UAB Sports Medicine Cardiology Clinic treats athletes with certain post-COVID-19 heart symptoms, it is not a post-COVID-19 clinic. For patients who need treatment for other ongoing COVID-19 symptoms, UAB Medicine established a Post-COVID Treatment Program.
Cardiac care services at UAB Medicine are part of our nationally ranked Cardiovascular Institute, which offers the full range of care for your heart. It features experienced and highly specialized physicians who are experts in various heart and vascular conditions.
The physician leaders at the UAB Sports Medicine Cardiology Clinic are supported by an athletic trainer and several support staff, to help optimize the patient experience. The goal is to help athletes return to their pre-COVID-19 performance level or higher.
In order to clear athletes to return to their sport, the clinic will order an electrocardiogram (EKG) test, which records the heart’s electrical signals. After reviewing the EKG results, the clinic will perform an echocardiogram (echo) test to determine if the patient has cardiomyopathy, which is sometimes seen in COVID-19 cases.
For athletes who are experiencing post-COVID-19 fatigue, our specialists perform tests to determine patients’ current fitness levels, work with them to set goals, and design a treatment plan – including an exercise routine – to help patients reach those goals.
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