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EKG Screening

Vestavia Hills High School

Heart Screening Packet


Dear Parent and Student:

The VHHS Athletic Department and VHHS Athletic Training Staff are offering a free heart screening to student athletes to identify potential heart abnormalities in an effort to minimize the risk of sudden cardiac death.  The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that approximately 2000 people in the United States under the age of twenty-five will die this year alone. SCA is usually the result of an underlying and undetected heart condition, but here at VHHS we are aware that most of these conditions are both detectable and treatable. In an effort to be thorough with the student athletes here at VHHS, the VHHS Athletic Training Staff with assistance from The Daniel Project and The Lord Wedgwood Charity will be providing voluntary heart screening tests.

A simple EKG, when used to screen physically active young persons, can detect certain serious heart conditions that cannot be detected by a stethoscope, including approximately 70% of the abnormalities or “markers” that are associated with Sudden Cardiac Death. Electrocardiograms (ECC/EKG) are when electrodes (small patches with mild adhesives) are placed on the student athlete’s chest, arms, and legs. Wires will be attached to the electrodes, and the electrical activity of the heart is recorded. Many abnormalities of the heart can potentially cause sudden cardiac death and some of them can be detected by using EKG. However, these screenings do not always detect cardiovascular abnormalities when present, and not all potentially fatal heart abnormalities can be detected by this screening. Please note that EKG screenings result in approximately 2% of the tests being falsely positive. This may require additional evaluation and testing by your physician.

The data collected related to your heart screen will be reviewed by the VHHS Athletic Training Staff medical advisor/team physician and may be used in an aggregate form (no names or identifiers) as part of a research study on heart screening in the young. The VHHS Athletic Training Staff will provide each participant with a summary of the results of your screening and may recommend additional evaluation through follow-up with your physician or specialist.

By agreeing to participate in the VHHS heart screening program and, if so indicated, you give permission to the VHHS Athletic Training Staff and VHHS team physician to provide your screening results to your physician(s) and you authorize your physicians to share the results and diagnosis of any subsequent testing with the VHHS Athletic Training Staff.

Frequently Asked Questions About Heart Screenings

What is an EKG?

An EKG is a completely painless, non-invasive test that evaluates the health of your heart. It measures your heart rate and electrical activity through electrodes attached via small patches with a mild adhesive to the teen’s chest, legs, and arms.

What does it mean if my child’s screening indicates that further evaluation is needed?

It may indicate the presence of a serious cardiac condition that may require further follow-up testing and treatment by a physician. Your child’s physician will determine the need for further testing and treatment.

How soon should I have my child see a physician?

If your child’s screening result shows further evaluation is needed, you should have your child examined by your family physician within two weeks of being notified of the results of the screening.

Will a diagnosis be made on my child’s screening EKG?

  1. A clinical diagnosis can only be made incorporating the EKG findings with a history and physical performed by your own physician. If you are told your child needs additional follow-up, you can bring a copy of the EKG results or we can send an advance copy to them when you provide us with the contact information.

Will my child’s results be shared with the school?

  1. This is healthcare information that will only be shared with you. No information will be shared with anyone without your expressed written permission.

If my child’s screening indicates the need for follow up evaluation and testing with a physician, does that mean he/she has a life threatening condition?

Possibly, but 2% of EKG screenings will result in “false positive” findings. A false positive EKG indicates a defect may exist, but further testing shows there is no problem. We realize that this may cause some anxiety for parents and the athlete. We believe that the benefit of this potentially life-saving screening outweighs this concern.

If my child’s screening is within normal limits, does it mean that they have a healthy heart?

An EKG can only detect 60% of those at risk for sudden cardiac death. There are some conditions that cannot be detected with an EKG. Until further testing is available it is the best tool to detect those at risk. This EKG is a supplement to your physician’s evaluation of your child. It is important to give your physician a copy of the EKG and a health history so it can be evaluated and added to your child’s medical file.

If my child’s screening is within normal limits, does it need to be repeated again in future years?

This EKG is meant to be a baseline to measure future evaluation against. Current international recommendations are to repeat the EKG every other year through age 25.

** For additional information on the EKG Screenings please click on the links below**

VHHS EKG Screening Paperwork

Stop Heart Attack Cardea Screen

NATA SCA Handout

Wofford Update on Michael Roach

Heart-stopping truth

Heart of the Matter Article

Today Show: Parents unite to combat sudden cardiac arrest among young athletes

Parent Heart Watch