Sudden death syndrome--an umbrella term for a range of heart conditions that can lead to cardiac arrest--is notorious for striking those who seem most fit.
That is because the condition, thought to be largely hereditary, is often triggered by overexertion. Tragically for some, the first symptom can be cardiac arrest.
It's possible, though costly, to screen for SDS. In fact, after soccer prodigy John Marshall died of a sudden heart attack at age 16 in 1994, the day before he was set to join Everton, testing became compulsory for professional athletes in several countries.
Good thing, especially for those who don't have the means that professional athletes do, that a doctor at Tel Aviv University may have just made testing for the condition far simpler and more affordable.
"There is such a significant overlap between what's normal and abnormal on an ECG [electrocardiogram] that we need additional screening parameters," Dr. Sami Viskin, a cardiologist at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, said yesterday in a university press release. "This test, when done on people with strong symptoms, can really give...doctors a yardstick to compare those at risk for sudden death syndrome to those who would otherwise go on to live a healthy life."
Named after the doctor, the Viskin Test is easy on the patient, who simply undergoes a baseline ECG while resting in the supine position, and is then asked to stand quickly and remain still during continuous ECG recording.… Read more