In this exciting project, we are examining the feasibility of point of care ultrasound for screening varsity athletes. Why is this important?
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the athlete has a devastating effect on communities. The optimal and most cost effective method of screening is unknown. A full echocardiogram, which is a formal heart ultrasound, is too costly to conduct on athletes for screening purposes. For this reason we examined the use of Point of Care ultrasound (POCUS) which is not considered a separate test, but part of the physical exam as a cost-effective rapid screening tool for risk of sudden cardiac death in athletes.
We recruited 50 athletes from 14 different varsity teams including basketball, football, rugby, rowing, and hockey at Queen’s University. We worked closely in collaboration with the Athletics department. We found that the use of POCUS by non-cardiologists for screening athletes was highly feasible and could be used as a potential tool for detecting risk factors of sudden cardiac death. This preliminary work has been very well received and we presented it as an oral presentation at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Montreal, October 2016.
Athletes enrolled in this study are being invited to come back to receive a formal echocardiogram to compare and validate the POCUS results.
- Moulson N, Wiltshire V, Taylor T, O’Connor H, A.M. Johri AM (2016) Screening the heart of an athlete research program (SHARP): Feasibility of point of care ultrasound for screening of varsity athletes. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 32(10):S265.