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Do all student athletes need heart screenings?
Date:3/23/2011

ening of the heart, or dilated cardiomyopathy, the cause of death of the Fennville, Mich. Teen, can develop over time. A single screening may not detect the condition.

As many as 10 million to 12 million young athletes in the United States participate in competitive athletics, identifying which of those athletes is at significant risk of sudden death is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, doctors say.

How can you responsibly identify the student who is at risk without excluding thousands of other students from participating in sports?

The most important step may be to ensure that the screening process outlined by the AHA is being performed as recommended. The AHA recommendations require that the screening form document 12 specific aspects of the student's personal medical history, his/hers family medical history and a physical exam. If any concerns are identified based on the initial screen, then referral to a cardiologist is recommended.

Unfortunately, until very recently, the pre-participation screening form approved by the state of Michigan only covered five of the 12 topics recommended by the AHA. Russell and other colleagues from U-M were involved in updating the Michigan pre-participation physical form available from the Michigan Department of Community Health. The updated form conforms to the AHA guidelines and will help improve the screening process.

Making sure that all Michigan schools, public and private, use the new forms and that the screenings are performed by physicians familiar with the guidelines is an important next step.

"Simply improving pre-participation screening forms and conducting electrocardiograms on properly selected children and adults may help reduce cardiac deaths," says Sharlene M. Day, M.D., director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic at the U-M Cardiovascular Center. "It is also very important for athletes, their families, and their coaches to recognize potential wa
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Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll
smkirk@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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