Objective: To determine the proportion of US high schools using sports preparticipation evaluation (PPE) forms containing the 3 elements of the medical history currently recommended for screening young athletes for heart disease, including questions about exercise-related symptoms, previous diagnosis of heart murmur or high blood pressure, and family history of early myocardial infarction or sudden death.
Design: A random, population-based mail survey was conducted of 500 US high schools. The survey was mailed to the athletic trainer at each school. Each trainer was asked to complete and return a brief survey along with a copy of the PPE form used at that school.
Participants: High schools employing an athletic trainer who is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association.
Main outcome measure: The proportion of PPE forms containing all 3 components of the recommended cardiac screening history,
Results: Of the 500 high schools surveyed, 254 (50.8%) responded. Of the PPE forms received, 47 (25.3%) included questions about exercise-related symptoms, 97 (52.2%) included questions about a previous diagnosis of heart murmur or high blood pressure, and 57 (30.7%) had questions about a family history of early myocardial infarction or sudden death. Only 32 (17.2%) of the PPE forms received contained all 3 components of the recommended cardiac screening history.
Conclusions: Only 17.2% of high schools in this nationwide survey use PPE forms that contain all the elements of the cardiac history recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for identifying young athletes at risk for sudden death.