ECG screening

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While exercise is generally safe and beneficial, there are certain situations where it might pose risks. An electrocardiogram (ECG) can be an effective tool to identify these risks before a child starts a sports activity. Here's why:
  1. Identifying Congenital Heart Defects: Some people are born with heart defects that may not cause noticeable symptoms in their daily life but could become serious under the physical stress of vigorous activity. An ECG can help detect such defects so that precautions can be taken.
  1. Screening for Inherited Heart Conditions: There are inherited heart conditions, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or long QT syndrome, which can cause sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes. These conditions can often be detected through an ECG.
  1. Preventing Sudden Cardiac Arrest: While rare, sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death among young athletes. Most victims have no prior symptoms, making it vital to screen for potential cardiac issues.
  1. Determining Safe Levels of Activity: If a child has an existing heart condition, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, an ECG can help determine what level of physical activity is safe for them. This can help prevent exacerbating the condition through over-exertion.
  1. Establishing a Baseline: An ECG can serve as a baseline against which future changes can be compared. This can be helpful for tracking the child's health and development over time.
It's essential to note that while an ECG can detect a variety of heart conditions, it is not foolproof. Some heart conditions may not show up on an ECG, especially if they don't cause changes in the heart's electrical activity. Therefore, a comprehensive physical examination and a detailed personal and family medical history are also important when evaluating a readiness for sports activities.