Young Adult EKG Interpretation Services for Primary Care Physicians

Overview

We have heard from pediatricians, family practice specialists and other primary care physicians who want to provide EKGs to their young adult patients, but are daunted by the increasing expertise required to interpret these EKGs. Conducting an EKG and cardiac health history in the primary care setting is ideal, but interpreting them maybe outside the skill set or comfort zone of many primary care physicians. The Max Schewitz Foundation cardiologists will work with Illinois and Wisconsin-based primary care physicians to provide interpretation of young adult EKGs.

Every year thousands of seemingly healthy young adults die from hidden heart conditions leaving behind heartbroken families, friends, and communities. While not perfect, an EKG can detect markers for about 60% of the conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death. Not every condition can be detected by EKG and not every condition appears on every EKG, and some heart conditions are progressive and may not show on an early EKG, but may on a later one.  Bottom line: a single EKG can’t catch everyone at risk, but it can catch many.  Better yet, every heart condition has a treatment plan to avoid sudden cardiac death. 

Like any screening test, an EKG needs to be repeated to monitor changes in the heart. High school is an ideal time to get a baseline EKG since the greatest risk of sudden cardiac death is between ages 17 and 22. Catching and treating a heart condition at its inception or before it worsens or becomes life threatening means these kids can expect to lead a normal lifespan rather than become a sad headline. We recommend that young adults get an EKG every two years from age 14-28, and at any time that symptoms appear. 

It might surprise you to learn that over 50% of students who completed the AHA recommended health history as part of our screening process had positive responses.  Please click here to access a heath history questionnaire with ICD-9 codes to use in your practice for collecting cardiac histories and as an aid in billing insurance carriers. An ICD-10 version will be available soon.

The quality of the EKG interpretation can make a difference between missing a critical finding or misreading a benign EKG as abnormal.  The Max Schewitz Foundation's medical director and supporting cardiologists have interpreted the 60,000 young adults collected through our program.  The CardeaScreen EKG machines we use are programmed with the latest version of the Seattle Criteria for interpreting EKGs of young athletic adults. This provides an optimum balance of catching potentially fatal heart conditions while minimizing false negatives and false positives.

Service options and pricing

  • Interpretation only: $5 per EKG 
  • Equipment rental with interpretation services: $25 per EKG with an expectation of a minimum of 10 EKGs monthly

To learn more, email: Marybeth@maxschewitzfoundation.org