Answers to Athletes and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Premier Health providers and athletic trainers answer frequently asked questions about sudden cardiac arrest.

What is the concern about interpreting results from EKGs performed on high school athletes?

Dr. Sean Convery discusses existing concerns about how EKG results for high school and college athletes are interpreted. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


The question of false positives is always a concern, because we don't want to inappropriately withhold someone from participation when they really have a normal EKG. A pediatric cardiologist is used to reading pediatric heart rhythms. If someone is unfamiliar with the Seattle Criteria, they may be unfamiliar with what pediatric or adolescent cardiac tracings look like.

It's really important that the right people are interpreting the EKG data. The data is no good if the person doesn't interpret it correctly. That's one of the reasons we've gone to the revised Seattle Criteria. I don't think that a pediatric cardiologist necessarily has to be the one to read those. It would be great if they did, but quite frankly there are not enough pediatric cardiologists in this country to read all those EKGs. People trained in reading athletic EKGs can do that.

Chelsea L. Gilliam, APRN-CNP, AGACNP-BC

Piqua Family Practice

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Source: Michael W. Barrow, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; American Heart Association; National Institutes of Health; Nik Berger, MS, AT, ATC, Premier Health Sports Medicine – Miami Valley Hospital South; Jeffrey James, DO, Premier Orthopedics; Sean Convery, MD, Premier Orthopedics; Jeffrey Rayborn, MD, Premier Orthopedics