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Acta Paediatr. 2011 Oct;100(10):1297-301. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02337.x. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Can we prevent sudden cardiac death in young athletes: the debate about preparticipation sports screening.

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Division of Cardiology, Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL 64108, USA.


All high school athletes in the United States require a preparticipation screening examination. The American Heart Association recommends a focused history and physical examination. The European Society of Cardiology recommends that all examinations include an electrocardiogram (ECG). We review the risks and costs of screening, discuss legal ramifications and analyse the ethical implications of these considerations. There are too many unknown about ECG screening to require it as routine testing for all high school athletes.


Doctors must inform young athletes and their parents about the option of ECG screening and about the debate over its efficacy. Patients and parents may then choose to have an ECG or not. Mandatory universal screening is not warranted at this time.

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