(STANFORD, Calif.) -- After recent media coverage of a number of sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes, some people became louder in their demands for better heart health screening of young athletes -- specifically asking for mandatory electrocardiograms, or ECGs, to be a part of the already required physical exams.
But the view of many heart rhythm specialists is that the ECG is not an appropriate test as it does not detect the type of heart abnormality most associated in sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes.
A Stanford University study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, gives further support to this view, showing that when it comes to interpreting ECG screens, pediatric cardiologists are only 67 percent accurate.
Though this study is very small -- involving only 53 physicians reading 18 ECG screens -- the authors conclude that ECGs are not very effective at correctly identifying children with heart defects who should not participate in sports, nor are they any better at clearing healthy ones for physical activity.
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