October 4, 2007–SINGAPORE–The College of the Asian Pacific Society of Cardiology plans to work with medical institutions in Asia to implement a pre-participation cardiac screening program for athletes in Asia. The Society attributes its interest in screening at least in part to an Italian study, which found that screening can reduce the sudden death rate by 90 percent. The Society plans to develop a screening process that can be easily adopted by family physicians.
According to Dr. Michael Lim, President of the Society and Medical Director at the Singapore Heart, Stroke and Cancer Center, electrocardiograms (EKGs) may not detect potentially life threatening heart conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Consequently, more comprehensive tests such as echocardiograms should be used, particularly when there is a family history of sudden cardiac death.
So far this year, close to 200 screenings have been conducted at Changi General Hospital in Singapore for both athletes and non-athletes.