ECG scans should be standard for all sports screening, say US doctors

20th April 2011

Doctors in America have said that ECG screening should be made standard for all athletes, in a bid to prevent deaths from undetected heart problems brought on by exertion.

Dr Kimberly G Harmon, a sports physician with the University of Washington, said that athletes in America should be screened, in line with other countries.

The suggestion was made following the death of a 16-year-old basketball player from Michigan, who suffered a sudden cardiac attack after scoring a game-winning shot.

Following the tragic event Dr Harmon and her team looked into the student-athlete database for the National Collegiate Athletic Association to discover how common deaths of this kind were.

They discovered that there was one sudden cardiac death for every 43,700 members of the association, and that some students, such as black athletes and division one basketball players, were at higher risk, suggesting people should be screened to discover their risk.

Dr Harmon said: "Everyone else in the world does ECG screening as part of their sports screening."

The International Olympic Committee said that sudden most cases of sudden cardiac death in patients can be put down to underlying heart problems.

Posted by Philip Briggs


Harmon, Kimberly G. "Incidence of Sudden Cardiac Death in National Collegiate Athletic Association Athletes." Circulation. 19th April 2011-04-19

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