Screening can detect potentially serious heart conditions in healthy kids

March 18th, 2011 - 5:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, March 18 (ANI): Scientists have suggested that a relatively low-cost screening might help identify children who are at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, possibly preventing childhood death.

A pilot study in healthy children and adolescents showed that it is feasible to screen for undiagnosed heart conditions that increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

Adding a 10-minute electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to a history and physical examination identified unsuspected cases of potentially serious heart conditions.

“Our pilot study evaluated the feasibility of adding an ECG to cardiac screening of healthy school-aged children,” said the study leader, Victoria L. Vetter, at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

In children, sudden cardiac arrest is caused by structural or electrical abnormalities in the heart that frequently cause no symptoms and may go undiagnosed.

The current study evaluated 400 healthy subjects, 5 to 19 years old, recruited from Children’s Hospital’s Care Network. The researchers screened the subjects using a medical family history questionnaire, a physical examination, an ECG and an echocardiogram.

The study team identified previously undiagnosed cardiac abnormalities in 23 subjects, and hypertension in an additional 20.

Ten of the 400 subjects had potentially serious cardiac conditions. Of those 10 subjects, only one had experienced symptoms, and those had previously been dismissed. None of the 10 subjects had a family history of SCA.

“In our study, using ECG outperformed the history and physical examination and found previously unidentified potentially serious abnormalities that would not have been identified by history and physical examination alone,” the authors wrote.

The study was published on March 15 in the American Heart Journal. (ANI)

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Health Science |

Subscribe