DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.17665 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 17665: School Electrocardiography Screening Program Prompts the Detection of Otherwise Unrecognized Atrial Septal Defect in Children in Japan

Noriko Yodoya, Hirofumi Sawada, Yoshihide Mitani, Hiroyuki Ohashi, NAOKI TSUBOYA, Kazunobu Ohya, Mami Takeoka, Masahiro Hirayama
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Background: Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a congenital heart disease that often presents without symptoms or murmurs. If left untreated, children with ASD can develop comorbidities in adulthood. In Japan, school electrocardiography (ECG) screening has been implemented for all 1st, 7th, and 10th graders. However, the impact of this program in detecting children with ASD is unknown.

Hypothesis: School ECG screening program prompts the detection of otherwise unrecognized ASD in children in Japan.

Methods: This is a retrospective study that analyzed consecutive patients with ASD who underwent catheterization for surgical or catheter closure at ≤18 years of age during 2009-2019 at a tertiary referral center in Japan.

Results: Of the overall 116 patients with ASD (median age of 3.0 years at diagnosis and 8.9 years at catheterization), 43 (37%) were prompted by the ECG screening (Screening group), while the remaining 73 (63%) were by other findings (Non-screening group). Of the 49 patients diagnosed at ≥6 years of age, 43 (88%) were prompted by the ECG screening, with the 3 corresponding peaks of the number of patients at diagnosis. Compared with the non-screening group, the screening group exhibited similar levels of hemodynamic parameters but had a lower proportion of audible heart murmur (Levine 2/6 or higher) and coexisting diseases at catheterizarion (p=0.016), which were mainly prompted by the health care and health checkups in infancy or preschool period. Patients positive for a composite parameter (iRBBB, inverted T in V4, or ST depression in the aVF lead) accounted for 79% of the screening group at catheterization, each of which was correlated with hemodynamic parameters in the overall patients (p<.05).

Conclusions: The present study showed that school ECG screening detected otherwise unrecognized ASD, which prompted the diagnosis of the majority of patients at school age and > one-third of overall patients in Japan. These findings suggest that ECG screening program could be valuable for detecting hemodynamically significant ASD in students, who are asymptomatic and murmurless.

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