Feature | May 19, 2014

ECG for Pre-Participation Screening of High School Athletes Efficient at Finding Heart Abnormalities

Largest study to use modern interpretation criteria of ECGs led to more accurate detection of cardiac conditions

May 19, 2014 — A new study found that adding an electrocardiogram (ECG) to existing pre-participation screening of high school athletes increases the likelihood of identifying disorders associated with sudden cardiac death. By using modern interpretation criteria, screenings resulted in fewer false-positive rates, which leads to more accurate detection. The findings were presented at Heart Rhythm 2014, the Heart Rhythm Society’s (HRS) 35th annual scientific sessions.

The prospective study was conducted at 23 high schools in the greater Seattle area from October 2010 through June 2013. Competitive athletes ages 13 to 19 underwent a screening protocol that included a heart health questionnaire and physical recommendations based on the current American Heart Assn. (AHA) recommendations, as well as a resting 12-lead ECG interpreted using athlete-specific criteria and limited echocardiogram.

Nearly 5,000 (4,812) athletes were screened, and 23 athletes were identified with a significant abnormality requiring further evaluation. Abnormal history or physical examination findings led to a diagnosis in 61 percent of disorders, and an abnormal ECG led to a diagnosis in 70 percent. The addition of ECG led to detection in seven (30 percent) athletes not otherwise identified by AHA protocol.

“The debate has mostly been focused on whether or not to include ECG screening, and this study shows it is not just about whether or not to include an ECG, but the importance of appropriate ECG interpretation in athletes,” said lead author Jordan M. Prutkin, M.D., MHS, FHRS, assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology. “We need to focus future research on how we can further develop better athlete-specific interpretation criteria, which in turn will help reduce sudden cardiac arrest in the young population.”

While the history and physical exam are important and recommended by AHA, the study found that these alone gave more false positive readings than the ECG. The ECG had a significantly lower false positive rate at 3.6 percent, when compared to the history (22.3 percent) and physical exam (14.9 percent). In addition, the ECG was better at positively predicting abnormalities than the history and physical examination. When modern interpretation criteria is used, ECG screening increases the likelihood of detecting disorders associated with sudden cardiac death and may help ease anxiety about the results of the ECG screening and reduce associated costs. An integrated screening protocol using history, physical examination and ECGs should be considered for pre-participation screening in young athletes.

For more information: www.hrsonline.org

Related Content

medical imaging, low-dose radiation, cancer, LNT model study
News | Radiation Dose Management| February 04, 2016
The widespread belief that radiation from X rays, CT scans and other medical imaging can cause cancer is based on an...
caffeine consumption, extra heartbeats, UCSF study, UC San Francisco, Journal of the American Heart Association
News | EP Lab| February 04, 2016
Contrary to current clinical belief, regular caffeine consumption does not lead to extra heartbeats, which, while...
sleep apnea, heart failure readmissions, Thomas Jefferson University study
News | Heart Failure| February 04, 2016
Early diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea may reduce six-month readmissions for patients hospitalized with heart...
News | Heart Failure| February 04, 2016
New research from scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) published in the journal...
Allegheny General Hospital, MRI, patients with implantable cardiac devices, safety and effectiveness
News | EP Lab| February 01, 2016
The findings of a major study led by cardiovascular imaging specialists at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) suggest...
News | EP Lab| January 29, 2016
Diseased hearts may be thrown out of rhythm by structural differences, now visible for the first time, in protein...
TOBA-BTK study, six-month results, LINC 2016, Tack Endovascular System
News | Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)| January 29, 2016
Intact Vascular Inc. announced that positive six-month results from its Tack Optimized Balloon Angioplasty – Below-the-...
critical limb ischemia, amputations, MRI-based mapping, CLI, British Heart Foundation
News | Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)| January 28, 2016
A new imaging technique could reduce the need for amputation in patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI), according...
Kyoto University, Panasonic, remote heartbeat sensing, millimeter-wave radar

Japanese researchers have come up with a way to measure heartbeats remotely, in real time, and under controlled conditions with as much accuracy as electrocardiographs. The technology utilizes spread-spectrum radar to catch signals from the body and an algorithm that distinguishes heartbeats from other signals.

News | Remote Monitoring| January 26, 2016
Heartbeats can now be measured without placing sensors on the body, thanks to a new technology developed in Japan....
mechanical stimulation, cardiac cells, pacemakers, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology study
News | Pacemakers| January 26, 2016
January 26, 2016 — In a breakthrough that could change the future of...
Overlay Init