All kids should be screened for possibility of sudden cardiac arrest, group says

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All children — not just those who play sports — should be screened for potential heart problems that could lead to a sudden cardiac arrest or death, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday.

In an updated policy statement, the organization recommended primary care physicians ask four questions during routine visits with kids “regardless of athletic status” — particularly when they start middle school and junior high school. The screening should be done at least every three years as the children continue on to high school.

Media attention to sports creates the perception that only athletes have an increased risk of sudden cardiac events, the statement noted. The recent collapse of Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen on the field during a match showed how quickly and out of the blue it can happen — with potentially deadly consequences. The 29-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest and “was gone” before he was resuscitated with a defibrillator, his team’s doctor said.

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