Healthcare Services and Programs

 Sudden Cardiac Death Checklist
At OhioHealth, we take the care of young athletes to heart, especially when it comes to the critical possibility of Sudden Cardiac Death.

For the first time at OhioHealth, we offer pre-participation heart screenings for student athletes 14 and older to test for underlying heart conditions that could put them at risk while competing or practicing.

The screening is non-invasive and involves answering a few questions and having two heart tests performed.  There are three steps for the screening:

1. Answering questions about your family’s heart history
2. An electrocardiogram (EKG)
3. A limited echocardiogram.

The OhioHealth heart and vascular sports cardiologists will evaluate and interpret the screening results. Participants will receive important information about heart screening for athletes the same day as their screening. The screening results will be mailed within 3 business days to the participant’s parents. A copy of the screening result will also be mailed to the athlete’s pediatrician if one is listed at the time of registration. 

Cost for the screenings is $95

Westerville Medical Campus 260 Polaris Parkway, 2nd floor.
To schedule an appointment, call 614.533.3471.

Fortunately, the actual risk to a specific athlete is very low, about one in 200,000 per year. Nevertheless, some young adults may have an undiagnosed heart condition, which would increase their risk for a sudden cardiac event during extreme athletic activity.

Be aware of these symptoms

Although many athletes who have a sudden cardiac event have had no prior symptoms, it is important to pay attention to any unusual symptoms that could indicate an underlying heart or circulatory problem. These symptoms may have a variety causes, but they should prompt an evaluation.

  • The most important symptom is lightheadedness or passing out during exertion or athletic activity.
  • Other symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath, particularly with exertion.
  • A history of sudden cardiac death or other heart conditions in the athlete's family may also indicate an elevated risk. In particular, the sudden death of a blood relative before the age of 50 could indicate a genetic risk for heart disease.

Any of these symptoms or a family history of sudden cardiac death or a heart condition should be mentioned during a student athlete’s pre-participation sports physical. 

In addition, coaches and parents periodically should ask their student athletes if they've experienced any of these symptoms. If any are present, they warrant a full evaluation of the student athlete by a personal physician or other health professional.

OhioHealth Heart & Vascular Physicians provides some of the nation's best expertise and care for your family

Anne Albers
Anne R. Albers, MD, PhD, FACC, FACE, RVT
Riverside Methodist Hospital
Kanney S. Grewal
Kanny S. Grewal, MD, FACC, FASE, FASNC
Medical Director, Cardiac Imaging Laboratory
Riverside Methodist Hospital

Dr. Anne R. Albers, MD, and Dr. Kanny S. Grewal, MD, have years of cardiology education, experience and expertise. They offer important information about Sudden Cardiac Death in an FAQ below for parents with young athletes.

If you believe your student athlete has any of the risk factors or exhibits any of the warning signs listed here, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP) or pediatrician for an evaluation.

If you do not have a PCP or pediatrician, we can help you find one. Find a Doctor online or call us 24/7 (614) 4-HEALTH (443-2584) or 1-(800) 837-7555.

FAQ: Sudden Cardiac Death Risk in Young Athletes

What causes sudden cardiac death in athletes and other young adults?
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How can we screen for heart disease in young athletes?
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What kinds of tests are usually performed in a full clinical evaluation by a pediatrician, family doctor, sports medicine specialist or sports cardiologist?
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Will my child benefit from more advanced screening beyond the pre-participation physical?
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When do I need to withhold my child or athlete from physical activity?
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What else can I do to understand Sudden Cardiac Death?
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How can I help if I witness an athlete collapse or faint?
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Read more about heart health and screening guidelines in these additional resources: