Make Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Part of Your Practice

Did you know that 1 in 300 youth has an undetected heart condition that puts them at risk for sudden cardiac arrest?1 As primary care practitioners, you are on the front lines when it comes to protecting young hearts from sudden death. And yet, studies show that cardiac consideration is an often overlooked area of assessment, with practitioners and parents largely unfamiliar with warning signs and risk factors that require follow up. In fact, the standard approach to well-child checkups and PPEs can miss up to 90%2 of heart abnormalities.

Consider the evidence.

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Up to 72% of sudden cardiac arrest is preceded by symptoms, which often go unrecognized or unreported.

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In cases when an SCA victim had reported symptoms, up to 60% of practitioners did not consider a cardiac diagnosis.

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Up to 49% of victims had a significant family history that should have triggered diagnostic testing.

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As few as 15% of practices annually update patient history, which means changes in a family’s heart health could be missed.

The leading causes of death among youth are accidents, homicide, suicide, cancer and sudden cardiac arrest. Arguably, the last is the ONLY one that can be prevented.

So why aren’t we?


We Need Better Cardiac Risk Assessment

A more comprehensive cardiac risk assessment at home and in the medical practitioner’s office could prevent the loss of thousands of youth each year.

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Stress the importance of getting a thorough family heart history.

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Ask about risk factors and warning signs youth may be experiencing.

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Utilize diagnostic testing proven better at confirming youth at risk.

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Test for inherited conditions if family risk factors are present.

The current American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on SCA in youth states that all youth should get a regular heart screening. Incorporate sudden cardiac arrest prevention protocol into your practice today.

Don’t take a chance with a child’s heart.


1Average from Fuller, 1997; Corrado, 2006; AHA 2007; Wilson, 2008; Bessem, 2009; Baggish, 2010; Harmon, 2015; Drezner, 2016
2Maron et al “Autopsy Study of Athletes with SCD (JAMA276:199-204;1996)