Purpose Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the young is commonly attributed to inherited cardiac conditions, a considerable proportion of which can be detected during life. To prevent such tragedies, learned sporting and scientific bodies recommend pre-participation screening in young athletes. However, most SCDs in the young are likely to occur in non-competitive athletes. The aim of this study was to report the results of a population screening program in the UK.
Methods During 2012, 12000 individuals, aged between 14 and 35 years, were screened, irrespective of athletic activity. Screening was performed at a cost of £35/individual and comprised of a health questionnaire, 12-lead ECG and consultation with a cardiologist. Individuals with abnormalities underwent a transthoracic echocardiogram on the day or were referred for further evaluation. Follow-up data were obtained through self-reported patient questionnaires.
Results Of the 12,000 individuals screened (which included 13% elite athletes), 9.4% underwent echocardiography on the day. Ultimately, 323 (2.7%) individuals were referred for further assessment, 231 responded to the questionnaire and 189 had completed their follow-up investigations. Individuals were subjected to an average of 1.6 further investigations (ECHO 31%, 24-hour ECG monitor 30%, exercise test 22%, MRI 12%, other 5%). A cardiac pathology or findings necessitating regular follow-up were identified in 31 (16%) of the 189 individuals (Table 1).
Conclusion Our results indicate that a large-scale population screening program based to similar methodology to the European Society of Cardiology recommendations is feasible. Our low referral rate indicates that young individuals with potentially sinister conditions can be identified at a relative low additional cost and investigation burden to the National health system.
- Sudden Cardiac Death
- South Asians
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