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• Sudden cardiac death (SCD) among athletes can be attributed to increased cardiovascular demands associated with vigorous exercise.

• The majority of athletes who experience sudden cardiac death are asymptomatic.

• Pre-participation history and physicals, (H&P) help to identify underlying cardiovascular disorders with the potential to increase the risk of SCD in an athlete.

• The efficacy of pre-participation H&Ps to identify underlying cardiac etiology has been debated.

• The purpose of this research is to:

---Determine incidence and cause of SCD among athletes (Table 1).

---Determine the efficacy and evidenced-based criteria for the interpretation of ECGs in athletes.

---Evaluate cost-effectiveness of screening with ECG.

• The findings indicate:

---Incidence of SCD is 1-3/100,000 athletes.

---The addition of ECG to the H&P improves sensitivity to 70% and specificity to 94.1% resulting in early detection of cardiac abnormalities and decreases the incidence of SCD.

---The refined criteria significantly reduces false-positive rates for ECG interpretation (p<0.0001).

---The ECG saves an additional 2.1 life years/1000 athletes screened at a cost of $88.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Vikki McCleary

Publication Date



Athletes; Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic -- diagnosis; Cost-Benefit Analysis -- economics; Death, Sudden, Cardiac -- prevention & control; Electrocardiography; Mass Screening; Predictive Value of Tests; Sports Medicine -- economics


Cardiovascular Diseases | Sports Medicine

The Efficacy of Electrocardiograms as a Screening Tool to Detect Cardiac Abnormalities in Young Athletes