SPORTS CARDIOLOGY

Dr Salahaddin Ubaid is a UK trained consultant interventional Cardiologist working at Cheltenham General and Gloucester Royal hospitals.

He has substantial experience in the management of patients with a wide range of general heart conditions and specialises in the management of coronary heart disease, sports cardiology, cardiovascular risk assessment, cardiovascular diseases prevention, and cardiac rehabilitation. His sports cardiology clinic includes:

  • Identification of cardiovascular diseases and risk stratification in individuals participating in recreational (for leisure) and competitive (for performance and winning) sports
  • Assessment, investigations and management of sport related heart symptoms such as palpitations, shortness of breath and dizziness
  • Exercise recommendations (what to do and what not to do) for exercise and sports in healthy individuals
  • Exercise recommendation and prescription for patients with:
    • Angina
    • Aging individuals
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Aortopathy
    • Heart attack
    • Heart valve disease, aortic and mitral valves
    • Heart failure
    • Heart rhythm abnormalities
    • Cardiomyopathies
    • Congenital heart disease
    • Myocarditis and pericarditis
    • Implantable cardiac devices
    • Cancer patients
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Pregnancy
  • Return to sport and exercise following cardiovascular events
  • Sports pre-participation cardiovascular screening (competitive and recreational sports) for individuals of all ages, aimed at the detection and management of heart conditions associated with sudden cardiac death (SCD). This includes
  • Screening adolescent and young athletes, older than 14 years of age
  • Screening for members of various sporting disciplines
  • Screening for school students and the general population
  • Screening athletes with a family history of sudden cardiac death
  • Cardiovascular Safety assessment at Sports Arenas
  • Training sports organizations staff, schools and other sports institution’s personnel the skills of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of Automatic External Defibrillators (AED)
  • Wearable technology and your heart (smart watches and fitness trackers)

MEET SALAHADDIN

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    Exercise is good for you! There is a wealth of scientific data that demonstrates the many benefits of regular exercise. Thus, regular exercise can reduce the incidence of a vast range of medical problems including:

    ● diabetes
    ● bowel disease (including cancer)
    ● high blood pressure
    ● depression
    ● anxiety neurosis
    ● breast cancer
    ● osteoporosis (brittle bones)
    ● hypercholesterolaemia
    ● heart disease

    Although exercise is usually good for the heart, there are some conditions that are associated with exercise-induced heart disease. The most common of these is coronary artery disease. This is the most frequent cause of exercise related heart problems in adults of middle age and above. Coronary artery disease is particularly common in smokers and in people with a family history of heart attacks (“myocardial infarction”) or elevated blood cholesterol (“hypercholesterolaemia”).

    In younger adults and teenagers there are a variety of uncommon heart conditions which can lead to major heart problems on exercise. These include abnormalities of the heart muscle (“cardiomyopathy”), abnormalities of the heart structure (“congenital heart disease”) and abnormalities of the heart rhythm (“cardiac arrhythmia syndromes”). These conditions can occasionally present for the first time in older adults. Most of these conditions can be diagnosed by a combination of a careful family and medical history, an electrocardiograph (ECG) and an examination of the heart structure using ultrasound (echocardiogram). Occasionally, additional tests such as prolonged ECG testing or measurement of the heart rhythm while running on a treadmill (exercise ECG stress test) are necessary.

    Dr Ubaid provides an comprehensive, consultant–based assessment service for the older child and adult taking part in regular exercise.

    HEALTHY ATHLETES

    Children and young adults

    The European Society of Cardiology recommend that all children over 12 years old and all adults undertaking competitive sport should undergo sports cardiology screening every 2 years. Competitive sport is defined as any sport that involves competition or regular training.

    Please click the following link to read the ESC exercise recommendations paper.

    Veteran and Masters Athletes

    Increasing numbers of athletes are able to continue their athletic activities into middle and even old age. A Masters or Veteran athlete has a different risk profile to the younger athlete. The main risk is coronary artery disease. This is a condition where the arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle are gradually blocked causing chest pain on exercise or even a heart attack. Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of death in the developed world. Although regular exercise can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, there are many other important risk factors including a history of cigarette smoking and a family history of heart attacks.

    The American Heart Association recommend that all Masters athletes who undertake vigorous exercise should be assessed for risk factors for coronary artery disease ( for example; high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol or a history of a heart attack in close relatives under 60 years old). They define a Masters athlete as men over 40 years old and women over 50 years old or after the menopause.

    Please click the following link to read the AHA recommendation.

    Professional and Elite athletes

    Dr Ubaid also provide a screening and assessment service for established club, professional and elite athletes. There is some evidence to suggest that certain cardiac arrhythmias are more common in athletes (for example, atrial fibrillation). Similarly, the process of regular training can occasionally bring out or accentuate a minor underlying cardiac anomaly.

    WOULD BE ATHLETES

    This service is available for adults taking up exercise for the first time or after a long break in training. The service is designed to exclude major underlying heart problems that may make participation in strenuous exercise hazardous. In older “would-be” athletes (>40yrs), a blood sample will be sent for triglyceride and cholesterol analysis. In combination with physical examination, family history assessment and clinical assessment, this will allow the estimation of approximate future risk of coronary artery disease.

    GROUP SCREENING

    Amateur Sports Clubs and Schools

    Most of the screening and assessment tests can by carried out locally at your Sports Club. Similarly, whole club screening can be arranged. A similar service can be arranged for schools and college teams. Schools screening will be carried out by specialists with experience and accreditation in paediatric cardiology.

    Professional Sports Clubs

    Dr Ubaid can carry out full sports cardiology screening in accordance with national guidelines. We use protocols for competitive athletes as recommended by the European Society of Cardiology Sports Cardiology Committee. Our screening incorporates the Football Association cardiology screening policy (2007 modifications). All investigations are carried out under the direction of Dr Ubaid. Immediate results are available.

    INVESTIGATIONS

    All clients undergo a clinical cardiovascular examination by an experienced cardiologist. This involves checking the blood pressure, listening to heart with a stethoscope and examining the pulse and heart size. In addition, two main screening tests are used. The Pre-participation questionnaire is designed to assess the presence of a familial exercise-associated heart problem. It will also pick up any history of medical problems or symptoms which might point to underlying heart disease. The Electrocardiograph (ECG) is a simple test which assesses heart rhythm, the size of heart chambers and can often diagnose an underlying heart muscle or heart rhythm abnormality.

    In competitive athletes, we recommend that an Echocardiogram is carried out. This is a detailed assessment of the structure and function of the heart using ultrasound. This allows the precise measurement of heart chamber size, assessment of heart valves and adjacent blood vessels. The echocardiogram is an integral part of the Football Association examination for junior professional footballers.

    In older “masters” or veteran athletes (>40yrs), an exercise stress test may be recommended. This involves running on a treadmill while attached to an ECG machine. This test is designed to help assess the underlying risk of coronary artery disease.

    ATHLETES WITH SYMPTOMS

    A formal sports cardiology assessment is recommended for all athletes suffering from breathlessness, palpitations, chest pain or dizziness/fainting during exercise. In many cases these symptoms will not be due to underlying heart disease.

    ATHLETES WITH HEART DISEASE

    Regular, carefully prescribed exercise has been shown to have many benefits in patients with heart disease including cardiomyopathy and heart failure. This can improve general physical fitness as well as improving self esteem. For obvious reasons, the approach to regular exercise has to be modified in this group and exercise prescribed in collaboration with the patient’s medical team.  Dr Ubaid provides an exercise prescription service for this patient group provided approval has been given by the patient’s cardiologist.

    A great team player, all of the nursing staff are very happy to work with Salahaddin as he is polite, efficient, and has a great aura of calmness and competence and appreciates the time to be light-hearted.

    In life we all need role models, if I was in training to be a doctor you would certainly fit that role for me. I thank you so much for what you have done to allow me to continue with my fitness regime and wish you well in the life ahead of you.

    In Dr Salahaddin Ubaid I had a medical genius who also contributed significantly to aiding me overcome all of the negative worries and emotions I was feeling. The care he provided to me, his attention to detail, his personal knowledge, expertise, experience and skills was outstanding.

    What I valued as much as his erudition was his people skills, he related to everyone as an individual, his understanding, communications, interactions and personable nature were exceptional. Dr Ubaid was quite simply staggering, he is somebody that has had a significant impact on me, not just for giving me my life back and for his medical genius but for being the person that he is.

    Dr Ubaid works well with all the staff. His approach to his fellow workers is both patient and respectful. His easy going manner makes him very approachable to ask advice and he accommodates any delays graciously. I personally look forward to working with him.

    Your kindness and good humour were very much appreciated and certainly put me at ease throughout the procedure, which on other ocassions has been quite daunting, your relaxed approach to my problem was very calm and professional.

    His presence radiates a warmth, he instils confidence in all those around him, he sets an example for others to follow and is a role model for others to aspire to be like. He was kind, courteous, professional, understanding, caring and highly approachable and relatable as well as the medical guru we all benefit from and rely on to give us our lives back.

    Meet Dr Salahaddin Ubaid

    General & Interventional Cardiology

    Risk Assessment & Prevention Clinic

    Sports Cardiology Clinic

    Cardiac Rehabilitation Clinic