What is an EKG?
An EKG is a completely painless, non-invasive test that evaluates the health of your heart. It measures your heart rate and electrical activity through electrodes attached via small patches with a mild adhesive to the teen’s chest, legs and arms.
What does it mean if my child’s screening EKG finding indicates that further evaluation is needed?
It may indicate the presence of a serious cardiac condition that may require further follow-up testing and treatment by a cardiologist. You will be given a referral to a cardiologist if further testing is needed.
How soon should I have my child see a physician?
If your child’s EKG result shows further evaluation is needed, you will be referred to a cardiologist for follow-up testing and evaluation. You should schedule your appointment based upon the recommendations of the cardiologist you see at the athlete screening.
Will a diagnosis be made on my child’s screening EKG?
No – A clinical diagnosis can only be made incorporating the EKG/echo findings with a full history and physical performed by a cardiologist. If you are told your child needs additional follow-up, you will be referred to a cardiologist for further evaluation and treatment.
Will my child’s results be shared with the school?
Absolutely not. This is healthcare information that will only be shared with you. No information will be shared with anyone without your permission.
If my child’s screening EKG finding indicates the need for follow up evaluation and testing with a physician, does that mean he/she has a life threatening condition?
Possibly, but 2% of EKG screenings will result in “false positive” findings. A false positive EKG indicates a defect may exist, but further testing shows there is no problem. We realize that this may cause some anxiety for parents. We believe that the benefit of this potentially life-saving screening outweighs this concern.
If my child’s EKG is within normal limits, does this mean that they have a healthy heart?
An EKG can only detect 60% of those at risk for sudden cardiac death. There are some conditions that cannot be detected with an EKG. Until further testing is available this is the best tool to detect those at risk. This EKG is a supplement to your physician’s evaluation of your child. The health history questionnaire you will be filling out may also provide important information about symptoms and family history clues that may require further evaluation by your physician. It is important to give your physician a copy of both the EKG and health history so it can be added to your child’s medical file.
If my child’s EKG is within normal limits, does it need to be repeated again in future years?
This EKG is meant to be a baseline to measure future evaluation against. Current international recommendations are to repeat the EKG every other year through age 25.
What heart conditions are being screened for during the athlete screening?
These are some of the conditions our cardiologists will be looking for during the screening:
HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY: This is a problem of the heart muscle where the bottom chambers (or ventricles) are too thick. The risk of this condition has been reported to be as frequent as 1 in 500 individuals.
DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY: This is a problem where the heart muscle is too large and does not squeeze as it is supposed to. The risk of this condition is estimated to be 1 in 2,000 individuals.
AORTIC ROOT ANEURYSM: This is a problem of an abnormal enlargement of the main artery that arises from the heart and is responsible for delivering oxygenated blood to the body. The risk of this condition is estimated to be 1 in 10,000 individuals.
LONG QT SYNDROME: This is a problem of the electricity of the heart that is caused by an issue with how the heart muscle handles essential elements like sodium and potassium. Children with this condition can suddenly develop unstable heart rhythms. The risk is as high as 1 in 5,000 individuals.
WOLFF-PARKINSON-WHITE (WPW) SYNDROME: This is a problem of the electricity of the heart that is caused by an abnormal connection between the top and bottom pumping chambers. This condition can cause very fast heartbeats and, rarely, an unstable heart rhythm. The risk of this condition has been reported to be as frequent as 1 in 1,500 individuals.