According to a study reported at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, screening teenage athletes for cardiac disease associated with sudden death does identify potential problems but is not cost-effective. In the study, 659 athletes were evaluated for cardiac disease with a physical exam, history, electrocardiogram and cardiac ultrasound, and five of those were found to have cardiac disease with the risk of sudden death. The cost was about $9,000 per event, excluding physician costs, and although widespread echo addresses some issues with ECG, "mass echocardiography also will identify heart disease that does not pose an immediate risk," said Dr. Jeffrey Anderson.

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