-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Electrocardiograph (EKG)
screening of young athletes can help identify those at risk for
sudden cardiac death, according to a new study.
Researchers screened nearly more than 1,300 young athletes and
conducted EKGs on 586 of them based on medical history, family
history, a physical exam or prior EKG. Six athletes were found to
have a heart disorder known to cause sudden cardiac death.
The study looked at how sensitive and specific the EKGs were as
tests. Sensitivity refers to how confidently a doctor can rule out
a problem and that it isn't a "false negative." Specificity refers
to how sure a doctor can be that a positive test result is
For medical history alone, the sensitivity and specificity to
detect heart disorders linked to sudden cardiac death were 33
percent and 69 percent. For physical exam, the figures were 16
percent and 91 percent. For EKG, sensitivity was 100 percent and
specificity was 95 percent.
Half of disorders known to cause sudden cardiac death were
detected by EKG alone, said Dr. Jessie Fudge, who is completing a
fellowship in primary care sports medicine at the University of
Washington in Seattle.
"[EKG] screening, when interpreted with modern criteria for youth athletes, provides better sensitivity and specificity compared to current screening guidelines," Fudge said in American Medical Society for Sports Medicine news release. "The addition of [EKG] screening to the pre-participation exam may better identify athletes at risk for sudden cardiac death."
On Tuesday, Fudge's study received an award for excellence in
sports medicine research at the society's annual meeting in
Study data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
sudden cardiac arrest.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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