ECG screening for young people could save lives

9th May 2011

A new study has shown the importance of using ECG to detect potentially life-threatening abnormalities in the heart rhythms of young people.

New research presented at Heart Rhythm 2011 showed that detecting abnormalities can decrease the numbers of sudden cardiac deaths among young people –both athletes and non-athletes.

The study was led by scientists at the Midwest Heart Foundation in Chicago. They used a standardised computer-based screening programme to test students in 32 Chicago high schools over a four-year period, screening more than 50,000 young people in that time.

It was found that 2.16 per cent of those screened had problems which could lead to sudden cardiac death, Health Canal reported.

Lead researcher Dr Joseph Marek said: "The screening process is an important step in trying to save lives because it helps us identify the individuals who are at the greatest risk of SCA and, ultimately, it has the potential to prevent incidents of sudden death from occurring."

Doctors in the US have been calling for screening to be implemented in all young athletes after a spate of sudden cardiac deaths from seemingly fit young people.

Posted by Edward Bartel

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

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