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How reliable is screening?

Screening aims to identify the majority of cardiac abnormalities most likely to affect young people.

The combination of ECG and Echo investigations provides a very detailed assessment of the heart structure and function. Performing an Echo in addition to an ECG increases the sensitivity of screening for conditions associated with SCD and reduces false positive rates. It is the same screening as used by the FA Medical Education Centre to screen football scholars.

An ECG is unable to identify anatomical anomalies of coronary arteries which account for a large proportion of SCD in young athletes. An echocardiogram in expert hands can usually identify such anomalies.

In addition, an echocardiogram allows detection of other heart abnormalities which may require treatment or monitoring over the years. Examples include abnormalities of heart valves and holes in the heart which are not detectable by ECG alone.

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