Summer Physical Should Include an EKG

With the summer physical season upon us, we wanted to help you make sure your child's heart was checked by more than a stethoscope.

Start by completing the  cardiac health history. The answers to this exam may lead your child's physician to recommend an EKG, and echocardiogram, or both. And your insurance may cover the cost.

Some hidden heart conditions can be genetic, so it's important to know what heart conditions may have afflicted your family members since they could have been passed on to your child.

Your child can also be born with a hidden heart condition, and some conditions develop or worsen as your child ages. The questions on the health history that ask about your child's symptoms should be answered by your child. For example, your child might feel his or her heart race, but may not know that's significant nor have mentioned that to you. It would help if you reviewed the questions with your child, and then reviewed the same answers with the physician during your child's exam.

Your child's physician can evaluate the significance of the answers and determine if your child would benefit from further cardiac testing. Your insurance carrier may cover the cost of additional testing based on family history or your child's symptoms. The red numbers on the health history are diagnostic codes required by insurance carriers when deciding if a service will be covered by your health plan. Your physician may not be familiar with these specific codes, so share the completed health history with your physician.

Many children with hidden heart conditions do not report experiencing symptoms. Because many have heart conditions without symptoms, we believe all young adults should receive an EKG with their physical exam beginning at the entry to high school. Like any screening test, the EKG should be repeated. We recommend getting an EKG every two years, or sooner if symptoms develop.

We hope you have a fun and safe summer! Click here to download our summer outreach letter