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Electrocardiogram Screenings (ECG)

Frisco ISD regularly partners with the Cypress ECG Project to offer cardiac screenings to middle and high school students who participate in athletics, band, dance or cheerleading. An electrocardiogram or ECG is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart.

The simple screening can help detect health problems before they become major medical issues. While it’s recommended all student athletes get an ECG at least once in middle school and once in high school, individuals should definitely be screened if they:

  • compete in high impact sports that increases heart rate for long periods of time

  • have a family history indicating that there is a heart disease risk

  • get dizziness during athletics

  • experience fainting spells or weakness while participating

  • get shortness of breath that does not clear quickly

  • get chest pain while participating 

Fall 2017 Screening (Dates TBD)

ECG Screening Consent Form

The human body changes during puberty both externally and internally in a variety of ways. One of these internal changes is the structure of the heart. In middle school, student athletes learn how to push their bodies to new levels as they mature and get bigger and stronger. Because of these physical changes and the increased stresses on a student athlete's heart, cardiac screening should be part of a physical at least once while in middle school and once in high school.

The simple cardiac screening can help detect health problems before they become major medical issues. While it’s recommended all student athletes get an ECG at least once in middle school and once in high school, individuals should definitely be screened if they:

  • compete in high impact sports that increases heart rate for long periods of time

  • have a family history indicating that there is a heart disease risk

  • get dizziness during athletics

  • experience fainting spells or weakness while participating

  • get shortness of breath that does not clear quickly

  • get chest pain while participating 

Cardiac screening can detect a variety of potentially catastrophic genetic diseases. The simplest level of testing is an ECG, which looks at the electrical signals that the heart uses to contract and circulate blood through the body and lungs. An ECG involves placing electrodes on the chest around the heart to record those signals. The test is easy, painless, non-invasive and takes less than five minutes. It does not involve needles, blood work, radiation exposure or sedation. Boys will remove their shirts. Girls should wear a regular bra or sports bra, which will not need to be removed.

A cardiologist familiar with student athletes will review the ECG, which can detect a large number of heart diseases such as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) or thickening of the heart, Long QT Syndrome, Wolff-Parkinson-White Disease, Arrhythmia, and Abnormal Right Ventricular Disease. All of these are electrical conduction issues and can be detected with an ECG.

On average, 95.5% of all student athletes have a normal ECG and are considered at low risk for cardiac issues. In about 4% of all athletes, results are inconclusive or suggest something that requires further testing. Most often an Echocardiogram (Echo) is recommended. The Echo is used to get a picture of the heart similar to an ultrasound to look at a baby during pregnancy. The Echo looks for valve and vein structure, muscle thickness, and proper operation of the heart.

Yes. The interpreted ECGs will be returned to the school within two business days with a diagnosis of low risk, follow-up or high risk. A copy of the ECG will be returned as well as information about a potential diagnosis in cases of follow up or high risk designation.

Who We Play For has trained cardiologists on staff who have read more than 50,000 student athlete ECGs since 2000. They are uniquely qualified to read this particular population – the student athlete.

An abnormal ECG will be flagged as follow up, which means additional testing is needed to see what is causing that abnormality – think of it as a yellow caution light. The diagnosis will include some documentation on what the potential problem might be. We will provide the names and phone numbers of some recommended cardiologists to visit in your area. Even if your child is flagged for a follow-up, he or she can continue participating in the school’s sports program. You'll just need to have your child visit a cardiologist within three months to determine why the ECG came back abnormal.

If your child is flagged as high risk, it is like a red light. He or she should not participate in sports in any way (practice, games, scrimmages, etc.) until he or she has seen a specialist and received clearance or treatment. If you don’t have one already, we will offer the contact information of cardiologists in your area.

It’s just $15 per student. A typical doctor’s appointment with ECG normally costs $100 and up, so Frisco ISD is happy to offer our families this important heart screening at a huge savings.

The annual physical exam asks family history questions, and requires a doctor to listen to the student's heart with a stethoscope. Studies have shown that this is just 1% effective in catching heart issues. Adding ECG screening improves the effectiveness in catching heart issues up to 85%. WWPF’s cardiologists have special training and years of experience with student athlete ECGs, which results in more accurate exams.

Cardiac screening should be part of a physical at least once while in middle school and once in high school due to the physical changes and the increased stresses on a student athlete's heart, which occur during that timeframe. If your child is considered low-risk then those are the only two times recommended to get an ECG before adulthood.

No, arrangements are made for privacy.

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