Researchers have found that childhood death could be prevented by a relatively low-cost screening that can help identify children who are at a risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). It is estimated that about 90 young, competitive athletes in the U.S. die each year from SCD.
A 10-minute electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), history and physical examination can identify unsuspected cases of potentially serious heart conditions which are undiagnosed. Structural or electrical abnormalities in the heart can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Generally this condition goes unidentified as it causes no symptoms.
Advertisement400 healthy subjects aged 5-19 years were part of the study. According to the American Heart Association, this screening is required only when a child is an athlete. However in Japan and Italy every child is screened for heart diseases and so researchers feel that this measure should be undertaken in the United States of America also. The study has been published in the American Heart Journal.