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Benefits and Risks of ECG Screening

posted Mar 11, 2011, 5:56 AM by Pat Shuff
How can teen athlete deaths be prevented - CNN

        At the collegiate level, there's a program at Arkansas State University, where one young man who was a wide receiver on the football team had a critical heart problem detected by the screening program. He had to have heart surgery and was instructed to stay off the field for one year. But when he came back to the team, he earned distinctions such as honorable mention for All-America wide receiver.

        Since 2005, the screenings have found 20 undetected heart conditions.

        According to the American Heart Association, nearly 6,000 children in the United States experience cardiac arrest — an abrupt loss of heart function — each year. Of those, only 6 percent survive.

        The issue of screening young athletes would be resolved if we made screening ECGs readily available to individuals for $10 at Walmart, and a follow-up echo (if needed) for $50, also at Walmart. Then individuals who decide that they wanted to know if they’re at risk for sudden death could do their own cost-benefit analysis, and if the potential benefit is worth a few dollars to them, they could buy the screening for themselves.