21 Apr Screening NCAA Athletes for Sudden Cardiac Death Risk
A new NCAA-funded research study supports the addition of electrocardiogram (ECG) screening to the standardized pre-participation exams for athletes to better identify cardiac abnormalities that lead to sudden cardiac death (SCD) — the leading cause of death in athletes during sport.
Currently, ECG screening is not a required component of physical exams for NCAA athletes; however, according to NCAA estimates, nearly a dozen college student-athletes in the US suffer sudden cardiac arrest each year.
Results support that ECG screening in NCAA athletes is feasible, has a low false-positive rate, and provides superior accuracy compared to a standardized history and physical exam to detect athletes with potentially dangerous cardiovascular conditions. This study also applied new international consensus standards for ECG interpretation — an important component that minimized false-positive results.