For appointments call the UW Medicine Contact Center at 206.520.5000
Cardiovascular screening in young athletes is universally supported, but the best model for accurate detection of athletes and children with potentially lethal cardiovascular disorders remains challenging and often controversial. The Center for Sports Cardiology establishes a new clinical model for the cardiovascular care of young, competitive, and elite athletes, performing electrocardiogram (ECG) screening and serving as the clinical gateway for athletes with potential cardiovascular symptoms to facilitate further testing and cardiology services.
- Heart screens
- Sports physical with ECG
- Evaluation of cardiovascular symptoms
- Cardiopulmonary exercise testing / VO2 max study (maximum oxygen uptake)
For appointments call the UW Medicine Contact Center at 206.520.5000 or visit http://www.uwmedicine.org/patient-care/making-an-appointment
A Heart Screen includes a heart health survey covering cardiovascular symptoms and important family medical history, a physical exam including blood pressure and listening to heart sounds, and a resting 12-lead electrocardiogram also known as an ECG or EKG. An ECG is a non-invasive test that measures the electrical activity of the heart. Many of the conditions that cause sudden cardiac death in young athletes are detectable by ECG.
Heart screens are offered to any individual age 12-35 and cost only $50. Patients with abnormal heart screens will require additional testing and/or cardiology consultation. Additional tests are billed to a patient’s insurance and performed at the University of Washington Medical Center Regional Heart Center or Seattle Children’s Hospital depending on the age of the patient.
While the heart screen evaluation can detect many of the heart conditions that place athletes at risk of a cardiovascular event during exercise, it does not screen for all causes. Thus, it is important to bring any new symptoms to the attention of a physician, including chest pain with exercise, passing out with exercise, unexplained fatigue or shortness of breath with exercise, or heart racing. Also, if a new heart problem develops in a family member, especially someone under the age of 40, the patient should bring this to the attention of their physician. As young athletes mature, their hearts can change too. A heart screen is recommended every 1-2 years while still active in competitive sports.
Sports physicals, also known as a pre-participation physical evaluation (PPE), are required by schools and many sporting organizations before participation in organized sports. A sports physical includes a heart screen but also reviews other conditions that affect athlete safety such as prior concussions, asthma, and musculoskeletal/orthopedic injuries. The Sports Medicine Center at Husky Stadium offers an advanced PPE including a resting 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) for a cost of $150. A comprehensive history, physical examination, and heart screen is performed. The patient is evaluated by a board certified primary care sports medicine physician. Our sports medicine physicians also serve as team physicians for the University of Washington Huskies and Seattle Seahawks. The same model used to screen college and professional athletes is used to screen all athletes in the UW Sports Cardiology Program.
Most young athletes who suffer sudden cardiac arrest do not have warning signs or symptoms before their cardiac arrest, making screening by history alone very challenging. Some symptoms can be under reported by athletes or go unrecognized by medical providers. The Center for Sports Cardiology offers evaluation of any young athlete with potential heart-related symptoms or a concerning family history. The evaluation is performed by sports medicine providers with experience and knowledge in the normal changes to an athlete’s heart that occur with exercise as well as the potential disorders that can lead to SCA. Additional testing or cardiology consultation is facilitated as needed.
Important symptoms to be evaluated if present include:
– Passing out during exercise
– Chest pain with exercise
– New onset fatigue or excessive shortness of breath with exercise
– Palpitations (heart racing for no reason)
– A family member with early onset heart disease or sudden death from a heart condition before the age of 40.
How big is your engine? Athletes often want to know just what their exercise or cardio-respiratory capacity is, also known as your VO2 max (maximum oxygen uptake). The Center for Sports Cardiology offers cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) with a new state-of-the-art gas exchange system using either a treadmill or cycle ergometer for a cost of $325. Your test is evaluated by a sports medicine physician, and recommendations for optimal training provided.