Monday, August 15, 2011

Heart Defects in Young Athletes Often Misdiagnosed by Cardiologists

Each year in the United States, about 76 young athletes die suddenly during practice or a game as a result of cardiac arrest. Consequently, some experts have recommended that electrocardiograms (ECGs) be required in these athletes to screen for certain heart defects.

Screening for heart defects may help prevent sudden cardiac death in these young people, however it is only beneficial when a doctor correctly reads the test results. A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics has found that many pediatric heart doctors misinterpret ECGs, leaving dangerous abnormalities undiagnosed. The study noted that about 32 percent of the time, pediatric cardiologists missed an abnormality, while a heart abnormality was incorrectly diagnosed about 30 percent of the time.

When an ECG is performed, the electrical impulses that are generated by the heart’s beat are measured. The test can detect certain conditions of the heart, as well as irregularities in the heart’s rhythm, when its results are correctly interpreted. For the study, researchers asked 53 pediatric cardiologists to interpret the results of 18 ECGs performed on teens with and without a heart defect. The doctors correctly read 12.4 of the 18 tests, on average.

According to lead study author Dr. Allison Hill, a pediatric resident at Stanford University, hypertonic cardiomyopathy is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in young people. This type of heart disease occurs when the heart muscle thickens, making it extremely difficult for it to pump blood.

The sudden cardiac death of a young person is an extremely painful occurrence, especially when it could have been prevented by a proper diagnosis. If your child’s heart defect went undiagnosed, resulting in permanent disability or death, call or email the cardiac malpractice attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. today. Our experienced legal team can answer your questions and review your possible case free of charge. We have helped clients with Bronx cardiac malpractice, Brooklyn cardiac malpractice, Queens cardiac malpractice, Manhattan cardiac malpractice and Long Island cardiac malpractice cases.

Call us toll-free, 1-877-ASK4SAM

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