Study Supports ECG Screening

Newswise — ATLANTA, Ga. – University of Washington researcher Jessie Fudge, MD received the Dr. Harry L. Galanty Young Investigator’s Award for excellence in sports medicine research at the 21st American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Ga. on April 24, 2012.

Dr. Fudge’s study “Cardiovascular Screening in Young Athletes: A Prospective Study Comparing the PPE Monograph 4th Edition and Electrocardiogram” looked at the challenging issue of identifying young athletes with undiscovered cardiovascular issues. It concluded that a standardized history and physical yields a high false-positive rate in a young active population and ECG screening is feasible and provides superior sensitivity and specificity.

“ECG screening, when interpreted with modern criteria for youth athletes, provides better sensitivity and specificity compared to current screening guidelines,” said Dr. Fudge. “The addition of ECG screening to the pre-participation exam may better identify athletes at risk for sudden cardiac death.”

A total of 1,339 subjects were screened. Echocardiograms were completed in 586 (44%) for concerning medical history (24%), family history (12%), physical exam (8%), or ECG (5%). Six (0.45%) were identified with a disorder known to cause sudden cardiac death (SCD). The sensitivity and specificity to detect disorders at risk of SCD were respectively 33% and 69% for history alone, 16% and 91% for physical exam, and 100% and 95% for ECG. Fifty percent of disorders known to cause sudden cardiac death were detected by ECG alone.

Co-authors of the research are Jonathan Drezner, MD; Kimberly Harmon, MD; David Owens, MD; Jordan Prutkin, MD, MHS; Irfan Asif, MD; Alison Haruta, Hank Pelto, MD; Ashwin Rao, MD; and Jack Salerno, MD all from the University of Washington

The conference featured lectures and research addressing the most challenging topics in sports medicine today including prevention of sudden death, cardiovascular issues in athletes, concussion, biologic therapies, and other controversies facing the field of sports medicine.

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