Lessons learned from preparticipation cardiovascular screening in a state funded program

Ilana Zeltser, Bryan Cannon, Lawrence Silvana, Arnold Fenrich, Jayni George, Jessica Schleifer, Michelle Garcia, Aliessa Barnes, Shannon Rivenes, Hanoch Patt, George Rodgers, William Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In 2007, the Texas legislature appropriated money for a pilot study to evaluate cardiovascular screening of student athletes to identify those who might be at risk of sudden death using a questionnaire, physical examination, electrocardiography, and limited echocardiography. We sought to determine (1) the feasibility of a state-wide cardiovascular screening program, (2) the ability to reliably identify at-risk subjects, and (3) problems in implementing screening state wide. The data were analyzed using established pediatric electrocardiographic and echocardiographic criteria. Positive results were confirmed by a blinded reviewer. In 31 venues (2,506 students), the electrocardiographic findings met the criteria for cardiovascular disease in 57 (2.3%), with 33 changes suggestive of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 14 with long QT syndrome, 7 with WolffParkinsonWhite syndrome, and 3 with potential ischemic findings related to a coronary anomaly. Of the 2,051 echocardiograms, 11 had findings concerning for disease (9 with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and 1 with dilated cardiomyopathy). In patients with electrocardiographic findings consistent with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the limited echocardiograms were normal in 24 of 33. Of the 33 who remained at risk of sudden death on the electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, 25 (65.8%) pursued the recommended evaluation, which confirmed long QT syndrome in 4, WolffParkinsonWhite syndrome in 7, and dilated cardiomyopathy in 1. The interobserver agreement was 100% for electrocardiography and 79% for echocardiography. The questionnaire identified 895 (35% of the total) potentially at-risk students, with disease confirmed in 11 (1.23%). In conclusion, in this large state-funded project, electrocardiographic and echocardiographic screening identified 11 of 2,506 patients potentially at risk of cardiovascular disease. The questionnaire was of limited value and had a large number of false-positive results. Interobserver variation was significant for echocardiography and might create problems with limited echocardiographic screening. Finally, many subjects with abnormal screening results declined a follow-up evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-908
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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