The leading cause of death among young athletes is sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Usually there are no advance signs or symptoms.
Nicklaus Children's Hospital, is reaching out to the region’s young athletes by offering free pediatric electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG) testing to children ages 5 - 21.
Truly a gift to your family, a patient’s ability to receive a free EKG test is not conditioned on his or her ordering any other item or service from Nicklaus Children's Hospital, or its Medical Staff.
Why is an EKG screening important?
There are relatively rare but serious conditions that can cause electrical or mechanical problems of the heart. In their early stages, these conditions may go undetected. Some of these conditions can be detected through an EKG screening.
How do I schedule an EKG screening for my young athlete?
EKG screenings can be scheduled at one of our 15 locations by calling 1-855-624-EKGS (3547)
What to expect during an EKG screening?
During an EKG screening, the patient will be asked to lay on an exam table. An EKG technician will attach ten electrodes to the patient’s chest, arms and legs. The test itself only takes a few seconds and is completely painless. Once the technician completes the EKG screen (measuring the electrical activity of the heart), the technician will print out the report and attach it to the consent forms signed by the patient’s parent/guardian. The EKG report will be reviewed by a cardiologist.
How will I receive results?
Once the cardiologist has reviewed the EKG screening result, and if the EKG does not show any abnormalities, the patient will receive a letter via the email provided on the consent form (if provided) or via mail in 7-10 business days.
If the EKG screening resulted in an abnormal finding, the patient will be contacted by the Nicklaus Children’s Heart Institute.
What if my child’s screening is abnormal?
A member of the Nicklaus Children’s Heart Institute will contact the patient family to discuss the results and next steps.
Depending on the finding of the screening, the cardiologist might recommend:
- A follow up visit with a pediatric cardiologist to discuss results of the screening
- An Echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart that checks how the heart functions.
- A Holter monitor, a type of portable EKG that is worn by the patient for an extended period of time. This monitor records the electrical activity of the heart continuously over 24 hours or as needed. The Holter monitor can be taken home to measure the heart’s rhythm as the patient goes about their regular day-to-day routine.
- A stress test, which involves running on a treadmill while the patient’s heart rhythm, blood pressure and breathing are monitored.
Interested in hosting a community EKG screening event?
To host a free EKG screening event with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital at your school, park, or sport facility, please contact:
Jennifer Ayala, SCDP Program Coordinator
Some Facts about the Free EKG Program
**Based on data collected through June 14, 2018.
- The program was founded in 2011 by Dr. Anthony Rossi
- A total of 27,388 EKGs have been performed since the beginning of the program
- Of all the EKGs performed 925 have resulted in abnormal EKG readings
- 20 interventions have been performed due to abnormal readings
- 13 locations offer FREE EKG screenings