Few Docs Follow Heart Attack Guidelines for Student Athletes

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Physicians review a parent-completed cardiac risk questionnaire, performed a physical exam and analyzed a 12-lead ECG. If higher risk was suspected, analysis went further, and students at increased risk were told to stop exercise and see their physician.

"We think it's at a point where the methodology can be passed on," said Bonzheim, who said that the cost of a screening amounted to about 7 dollars per child.

While she said there still needs to be work in how to successfully disseminate the information throughout the country, Bonzheim said "we made a dent that it can be done when people are willing to contribute to make sure it gets done by working together through community initiatives to move forward," she said.

"Although sudden death in a young person is extremely uncommon, every effort should be made to prevent this type of tragic death," said Dr. Hugh Calkins, professor of cardiology and medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. "It is especially important for physicians to be aware of the importance of a family history of sudden death and also the importance of a history of a syncopal episode."

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