Introduction ECG in pre-participation screening of athletes and of the young generally is still debated. The Swiss Federal Office (SFO) collects data of all deaths in Switzerland. This data can be used for finding an optimal cardiovascular (CV) screening age in the general population.
Objectives We hypothesise that an optimal CV screening age in the young can be found in Swiss people below the age of 35.
Methods We investigated the annual CV death rates from 1997–2011 for 8 age groups (>1, 1–4, 5–9, 10–14, 15–19, 20–24, 25–?29 and 30–34). For this purpose, the data from the SFO that collects all deaths in Switzerland coded by ICD-10 was extracted. The CV death numbers formed the nominator. The denominator was calculated using the population numbers for each gender and the different age groups. Statistical difference between the CV death rate in the different subgroup with α = 0.01 was used to find the optimal age cut-off.
Results We found an overall death rate (0–34) of 20.4 ± 4.97 in males and of 10.9 ± 3.67 in females. The relative 100’000 person-year CV death rate in the different age subgroups ranged from 0.14 ± 0.23 to 7.10 ± 4.31. The lowest value was found in females aged 5–9 and the highest in males aged 30–34. Statistical different annual CV death rates were found for males between age groups <1 and 1–4 (7.10 ± 4.31 versus 0.42 ± 0.44, p < 0.0001), 10–14 and 15–19 (0.43 ± 0.46 versus 1.62 ± 0.78, p < 0.0001), 20–24 and 25–29 (1.94 ± 1.05 versus 3.04 ± 1.01, p = 0.007) as well as 25–29 and 30–34 (3.04 ± 1.01 versus 5.55 ± 1.52, p < 0.0001). As regards to females, only the age group <1 and 1–4 (4.35 ± 3.21 versus 0.63 ± 0.67, p = 0.0001) showed statistical significant differences.
Conclusion We found an optimal CV screening age in males <1 and after 15 whereas only in the age group <1 in females. Therefore, an athlete and general CV inital screening may be interesting only in males at the age of 15–19.
Pelliccia A, Dorrado D. Can electrocardiographic screening prevent sudden death in athletes? BMJ 2010:(341):c4923.
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