Heart health screenings are important for children as they can indicate arrhythmia, congenital heart defects, heart failure and more. Fact is, the earlier a problem is detected, the better.
The Heart Center at Children's Health℠ offers free sports EKG Screening for children ages 8 and up with physician referral. EKGs are for asymptomatic patients only, and not appropriate for patients with palpitations and/or dizziness, as these patients require more evaluation.
What is an electrocardiogram (EKG)?
An EKG is a simple, fast test that measures the heart’s electrical activity to help evaluate its function and help identify any problems that may exist.
Why would a doctor perform an EKG?
An EKG may be performed to get a baseline measure of your child’s heartbeat, to test a pacemaker, to ensure heart medications are working or to check the heart after surgery. The test looks for abnormal heart rates and rhythm patterns. An EKG can also help determine the size and position of the heart’s chambers and whether there is any damage present.
What preparations should be made before the test?
Your child may eat and drink as usual. You should not use any cream, lotion, powder or baby oil on your child’s chest on the day of the test.
What happens during the EKG?
Your child will lie flat on a bed. Small plastic stickers, called electrodes, are attached to your child’s chest, arms and legs, and wires connected to the EKG machine are attached to the electrodes. The EKG detects the electrical signals from the surface of your child’s skin and records them. The painless test only lasts three to four minutes and is completely safe.
What happens after the test?
The wires are disconnected, and the electrodes are removed from your child’s body before being discharged. A cardiologist at Children’s Health℠ will interpret the results, which are typically available within two business days. If the EKG reveals a problem with your child’s heart, a repeat EKG or other diagnostic tests may be necessary. Treatment depends on what is causing your child’s signs and symptoms.