Is there evidence for recommending electrocardiogram as part of the pre-participation examination?

Clin J Sport Med. 2011 Jan;21(1):18-24. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318205dfb2.


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the leading cause of death in young athletes on the playing field and typically the result of undiagnosed structural or electrical cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular screening in athletes is routinely practiced and endorsed by most major sporting and medical associations, but universal agreement on a single screening strategy to identify athletes at risk for SCD remains a topic of tremendous debate. The pool of scientific evidence supporting the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of electrocardiogram (ECG) screening for athletes is growing. However, feasibility and practical concerns regarding false-positive results, cost-effectiveness, physician infrastructure, and health care resources for large-scale implementation of ECG screening still exist. This article examines the evidence related to ECG screening in athletes and presents a contemporary model for primary prevention of SCD in sport.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / prevention & control*
  • Electrocardiography / economics
  • Electrocardiography / methods*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / economics
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Medical History Taking
  • Physical Examination / economics
  • Physical Examination / methods*
  • Primary Prevention / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sports Medicine
  • Young Adult