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frequently asked questions

Advocate for Young Hearts - Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ECG?  An ECG is a completely painless test which evaluates the health of your heart. It measures your heart rate and electrical activity.

What does it mean if my child’s screening ECG finding indicates that further evaluation is needed?  It may indicate the presence of a serious cardiac condition that may require further follow up testing and treatment by a physician.

Will additional testing be needed?  Your child’s physician will determine the need for further testing and treatment.

How soon should I have my child see a physician? If your child’s ECG result shows further evaluation is needed, you should have your child examined by your family physician within two weeks of being notified of the results of the screening ECG.

Will a diagnosis be made based on my child’s screening ECG?  No. A clinical diagnosis can only be made incorporating the ECG findings with a history and physical performed by a physician. If you are told your child needs additional follow up, you will receive a copy of the ECG and one can be sent to your child’s physician.

Will my child’s results be shared with the school?   Absolutely not. This is healthcare information that will only be shared with you. No information will be shared with anyone without your express written permission.

If my child’s screening ECG finding indicates the need for follow up evaluation and testing with a physician, does that mean he/she has a life threatening condition?  Possibly. 2% of screening ECGs will result in “false positive” findings. A false positive ECG indicates a defect may exist, but further testing shows there is no problem. We realize that this may cause some anxiety for parents. We believe that the benefit of this potentially life-saving screening outweighs this concern. You need to decide for yourself if this risk is worth it or not.

If my child’s ECG is within normal limits, does this mean that they have a healthy heart?  An ECG can only detect 60% of those at risk for sudden cardiac death. There are some conditions that cannot be detected with an ECG. Until further testing is available this is the best tool to detect those at risk. The ECG is a supplement to your physician’s evaluation of your child. It is recommended that you also complete a questionnaire (sent with the result of your child’s ECG) which evaluates for symptoms and family history clues that may require further evaluation by your physician.

If my child’s ECG is within normal limits, does it need to be repeated again in future years?  Current international recommendations are to repeat the ECG every other year through age 25.


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