International Journal of Sports Medicine
Objective: Current American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for pre-participation athletic screening recommend a 12-point history and exam to minimize the risk of sudden cardiac death. We tested the hypothesis that focused cardiac ultrasound (FCU) performed and simultaneously interpreted by a cardiologist using a handheld ultrasound device would be a feasible addition. Methods: We performed pre-participation screening according to AHA recommendations on high school athletes in a multi-purpose room at their school. In addition to the standard 12-point assessment, a cardiologist simultaneously performed and interpreted a FCU on each athlete using a handheld ultrasound. Results: The mean age of the athletes was 16.6 ± 3.4 years; 68% were male. No evidence of left ventricular hypertrophy, cardiomyopathy, bicuspid aortic valve, or aortopathy was identified. Coronary ostia could not be visualized. Echocardiography added 1.35 ± 0.51 minutes to the standard exam. Conclusion: This feasibility study suggests that the addition of handheld echocardiography with real-time interpretation performed by a cardiologist to a standard AHA pre-participation screening adds less than two minutes of time to the assessment. While the study is not as comprehensive as an office based echocardiogram, it can provide valuable information which may be useful in ruling out some of the most common causes of sudden cardiac death in the young athlete or in selecting those who would benefit from further testing.
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Fishman ML, Shea J, Choi BG, Solomon AJ (2015) Feasibility of Focused Cardiac Ultrasound in Pre-participation Screening. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 1:2.