Table 1

The 14-element AHA recommendations for preparticipation cardiovascular screening of competitive athletes versus the PPE-4

AHA recommendations10*PPE-421
Medical history†
Personal historyHeart Health Questions About You
1. Chest pain/discomfort/tightness/pressure related to exertion6. Have you ever had discomfort, pain, tightness or pressure in your chest during exercise?
2. Unexplained syncope/near syncope‡5. Have you ever passed out or nearly passed out during or after exercise?
3. Excessive and unexplained dyspnoea/fatigue or palpitations, associated with exercise12. Do you get more tired or short of breath more quickly than your friends during exercise?
10. Do you get lightheaded or feel more short of breath than expected during exercise?
7. Does your heart ever race or skip beats (irregular beats) during exercise?
4. Prior recognition of a heart murmur
5. Elevated systemic blood pressure
6. Prior restriction from sports8. Has a doctor ever told you that you have any heart problems? If so, check all that apply:
□ High blood pressure
□ A heart murmur
□ High cholesterol
□ A heart infection
□ Kawasaki disease
1. Has a doctor ever denied or restricted your participation in sports for any reason?
7. Prior testing for heart disease, ordered by a physician9. Has a doctor ever ordered a test for your heart? (For example, ECG/EKG, echocardiogram)
11. Have you ever had an unexplained seizure?
Family History HeartHealth Questions About Your Family
8. Premature death (sudden and unexpected or otherwise) before 50 years of age attributable to heart disease in ≥1 relative13. Has any family member or relative died of heart problems or had an unexpected death before age 50 years (including drowning, unexplained car accident or sudden infant death syndrome)?
9. Disability from heart disease in a close relative <50 years of age
10. Hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathy, long QT syndrome or other ion channelopathies, Marfan syndrome, or clinically significant arrhythmias; specific knowledge of genetic cardiac condition in family member14. Does anyone in your family have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Marfan syndrome, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, long QT syndrome, short QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome or catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia?
15. Does anyone in your family have a heart problem, pacemaker or implanted defibrillator?
16. Has anyone in your family had unexplained fainting, unexplained seizures, or near drowning?
Physical ExaminationPhysical Examination
11. Heart murmur§
  • A. Heart

    • Murmurs (auscultation standing, supine,±Valsalva)

    • Location of point of maximal impulse

12. Femoral pulses to exclude coarctation
  • B. Pulses

    • Simultaneous femoral and radial pulses

13. Physical stigmata of Marfan syndrome
  • C. Appearance

    • Marfan stigmata (kyphoscoliosis, high-arched palate, pectus excavatum, arachnodactyly, arm span >height, hyperlaxity, myopia, MVP, aortic insufficiency)

14. Brachial artery blood pressure (sitting positional)¶
  • D. Blood pressure

  • Differences between AHA and PPE-4 recommendations are indicated in bold.

  • *Reprinted with permission from Maron et al.10

  • †Parental verification is recommended for high school and middle school athletes.

  • ‡Judged not to be neurocardiogenic (vasovagal) in origin; of particular concern when occurring during or after physical exertion.

  • §Refers to heart murmurs judged likely to be organic and unlikely to be innocent; auscultation should be performed with the patient in both the supine and standing positions (or with Valsalva manoeuvre), specifically to identify murmurs of dynamic left ventricular outflow tract obstruction.

  • ¶Preferably taken in both arms.

  • AHA, American Heart Association; ECG/EKG, electrocardiogram; MVP, mitral valve prosthesis; PPE, preperformance physical evaluation.