An ECG, coupled with a physical exam and medical history, is the best way to detect conditions that lead to sudden cardiac arrest. In fact, a recent study showed that the physical exam and medical history alone missed 82% of the heart conditions detected during a comprehensive pre-participation sports physical for NCAA athletes.
In 2012, international experts in sports medicine and cardiology met in Seattle to establish ECG interpretation standards (The Seattle Criteria) to be used for student athletes. Proceedings from the meeting were published in the February 2013 issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. These articles distinguish normal physiologic ECG changes in athletes from pathologic abnormalities suggestive of cardiomyopathy, channelopathy, or electrical disorders. A module was also created and can be accessed here.
In 2016, the criteria were updated with the International Consensus Standards.
Still curious? Browse some relevant research below:
- Screening Athletes to Prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest
- Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risk in Young Athletes
- Is There Evidence for Recommending EKG for PPE?
- Standardized Criteria for ECG Interpretation in Athletes
- Recommendations for Interpretation of 12-lead ECG in the Athlete
- Screening for Sudden Cardiac Death in the Young
- Psychological Impact of Cardiac Examination on Students