Sports Heart Screening for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
The free EKG program at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital is currently paused because of COVID-19 until further notice.
Many schools in South Florida now require athletes to have an EKG (electrocardiogram) before participating in organized sports. An EKG can help detect certain abnormal heart rhythms and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a condition linked to sudden death in athletes.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital offers a free EKG screening for sports evaluations. Requirements:
- Please make sure your child's prescription specifies the EKG is for a sports evaluation.
- A parent or guardian will need to be present to sign consent for the test.
What Is a Sports Clearance EKG?
Because your heart is under more stress during sports, it’s important to make sure it is functioning to its fullest. An EKG is a simple, quick, noninvasive test to record your heart’s electrical activity.
Sports Clearance EKG: Why Choose Us?
Each year, through our sports screening program, we diagnose and treat student athletes with potentially life-threatening heart abnormalities. As a leader in heart imaging for the region, we offer:
- No-cost EKGs with prescription: We offer free EKGs for families with a prescription from a doctor.
- Second opinions: Area cardiologists who want a second opinion on an EKG often refer their patients here for a repeat EKG or further testing. No two hearts are the same, and some children and teenagers require additional testing to properly diagnose or rule out a condition.
- Innovative ways to diagnose cardiomyopathy: We often use stress perfusion cardiac MRI to diagnose cardiomyopathy or learn more about a child’s cardiomyopathy. This noninvasive test uses a drug to mimic the effects of exercise on the heart. Stress perfusion cardiac MRI has helped us catch high-risk cardiomyopathy in children who had previously been classified as low risk. Learn more about heart imaging.
- Full range of cardiac services: If we do diagnose cardiomyopathy, our hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) program offers comprehensive treatment options. We can treat other conditions, such as arrhythmias, with procedures such as cardiac ablation.
EKG: What to Expect
An EKG is a noninvasive, painless test.
- There is no electrical charge or shock. In fact, you will not feel anything during the test.
- You will lie down on a table, and a nurse or technician will attach electrodes to your chest, arms and legs. Electrodes are small pads that safely conduct the electric current from your body into the reporting machine.
- We connect the electrodes by wires to the EKG machine, which records your heart’s electrical activity on a computer.
- The test only takes a few minutes. We’ll remove the electrodes as soon as it’s finished.
- A cardiologist reviews the results and sends them directly to your pediatrician (this takes a few days). If the EKG results appear abnormal, our on-call cardiologist will look at them before you leave to make a follow-up appointment.
- Parents can stay with their child throughout the entire procedure.
How to prepare for an EKG
- Do not wear oily or greasy skin creams and lotions because they can prevent the electrode from making skin contact.
- Do not wear full-length stockings because electrodes need to be placed directly on the legs.
- Wear a shirt that can be easily removed.
THE PATIENT AND ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS A RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT, OR BE REIMBURSED FOR PAYMENT FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT THAT IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED FEE, OR REDUCED FEE SERVICE, EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT.
To schedule an appointment or learn about our award-winning pediatric heart team, call 954-265-3437.