A concise, evidence-based medical tool that saves you money
For my sports physical, do I need an EKG before participating in sports if I have no symptoms?
MedHead Confidence Score: 5
Amount Saved: $500 EKG cost
I do a lot of pre participation sports physicals. Some people ask me about an EKG as part of that physical. Some doctors perform an EKG on every student. There is no reason to perform an EKG on every student athlete. Here is why: Believe it or not, more information is not always better. If I perform an EKG on an otherwise perfectly healthy athlete with a normal history and normal exam and find an abnormal tracing, then send him/her to a cardiac specialist for more specialized testing, there is a vanishingly small chance that anything life threatening will be found. The cardiologist will clear this student for sports, but not after the athlete has paid thousands of dollars and been exposed to radiation that has risks. All for nothing at all.
This is why The American College of Cardiology has produced a very practical 14 point guideline for us doctors to review when performing student sports physicals. I do not offer an EKG to students with no history and a normal exam. It is a waste of money and a potential increase in risk with radiation exposure during the follow up heart work up.