Entries in Heart Screening (2)


Should Teens Be Screened for Heart Problems?

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Medical experts have long debated whether teens, particularly athletes, should be screened for heart conditions.  When young athletes such as Wes Leonard, the young Michigan basketball player who died in early March moments after scoring the winning shot for his team, literally drop dead due to underlying heart conditions, parents and physicians begin to wonder if there is anything that can be done to prevent it from happening. 

In some countries in Europe, all high school age children undergo electrocardiograms, or ECGs, to check for certain heart defects.  This isn't done in the U.S., however, because many experts think general screening isn't efficient and wouldn't lead to a sizable reduction in sudden deaths in young adults.

However, by screening over 50,000 high school students in the greater Chicago area using ECG, researchers at the Midwest Heart Foundation detected particular heart conditions, known to be associated with sudden cardiac death, in 2.16 percent of the kids.  They argue their findings show that ECG screening is beneficial and should be implemented as part of a physical for all high school students.

Even so, four out of five medical experts consulted tell ABC News they still don't think such screening is justified.

The lone supporter of general screening recalled that once, when telling the father of a teen volleyball player who had died on the court that ECG screening isn't cost effective, the grieving father replied, "Be sure to include the cost of the funeral."

The Midwest Foundation Thursday presented the argument for teen heart screenings at the Heart Rhythm Society meeting in San Francisco.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Consumer Reports Survey Shows Some Heart Tests Not Needed

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A survey by Consumer Reports magazine suggests many healthy adults are getting screening tests for heart disease that they don't need.

Forty-four percent of healthy adults surveyed reported that they had received at least one heart screening test, such as an electrocardiogram or exercise stress test, which show limited evidence of effectiveness in low or normal risk patients.

Consumer Reports evaluated whether the benefits of nine common heart screening tests, based on guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, outweigh the potential harms. 

Blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose received the highest ratings for most adults. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio