HRS: ECG May Predict Sudden Cardiac Death Risk in Youth

ECG changes linked with risk of sudden cardiac death present in 2.16 percent of students screened

FRIDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Electrocardiographic (ECG) screenings can help identify youth at risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD), according to a study presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's Annual Scientific Sessions, held from May 4 to 7 in San Francisco.

Joseph C. Marek, M.D., from the Midwest Heart Foundation in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., and colleagues implemented a high-volume ECG screening program in 32 Chicago suburban high schools between 2006 and 2010. Utilizing community volunteers, they screened 50,665 high school students aged 14 to 18 years, during regular school hours.

The investigators found that 1,095 school children (2.16 percent) had ECG abnormalities that could be correlated with SCD. Major ECG findings included ST-T changes in 0.43 percent of ECGs, left axis deviation in 0.37 percent, left ventricular hypertrophy in 0.30 percent, and prolonged QT interval in 0.29 percent.

"The screening process is an important step in trying to save lives because it helps us identify the individuals who are at the greatest risk of sudden cardiac arrest and, ultimately, it has the potential to prevent incidents of sudden death from occurring," Marek said in a statement. "As proof, some European countries have implemented successful screening programs in high volume that show great success in reducing SCA in young adults."

Abstract No. PO3-157
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