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Sudden cardiac arrest in children and young athletes: the importance of a detailed personal and family history in the pre-participation evaluation
  1. R M Campbell1,
  2. S Berger2,
  3. J Drezner3
  1. 1
    Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center, Atlanta, USA
  2. 2
    Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
  3. 3
    University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  1. Dr R M Campbell, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center, 2835 Brandywine Road, Suite 300, Atlanta 30341, USA; campbellr{at}


Healthcare providers have become more aware of and concerned about paediatric sudden cardiac arrest. The diseases predisposing a patient to sudden cardiac arrest are all infrequently encountered. However, a detailed and comprehensive patient and family history may reveal warning signs and symptoms that identify a patient at higher risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Since many of these diseases are genetic, extensive family evaluation may uncover a previously undetected cardiac disease process and as well direct the development of a complete family evaluation and treatment plan. Published data document that in many cases preceding warning symptoms and signs are present, but may be misinterpreted or disregarded by medical staff. Attention to the details of patient history, family history and physical exam is critical to the success of any detection strategy, which can and should be widely applied.

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  • Competing interests: None.