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I know we've discussed this before - but there is a new study reported in today's British Medical Journal here which might change our minds a bit.
Basically, in Italy there has been a mandatory screening programme for competative sportspeople looking for cardiac anomalies to try to cut down on the sudden deaths in athletes/sportspeople which grab the headlines from time to time.
We in the UK have always played down teh value of them, but a trawl back through the data of all the tests they have done in Italy over 5 years (30 000+!) has shown that a small but significant number of them (126) have no anomalies on resting ECG, but something important showing up on an ECG done on a treadmill. In 56 of them these were described as potentially fatal. That's about 1 in 500, which is more than I ever thought.
So - what do we think we should do about it? Is that enough of a pick-up to merit a screening program? It's certainly a higher rate than many conditions we screen for already, and a cheap and safe test. The study doesn't look at death rates - but I'm not sure about the ethics of letting it run that far somehow!