Electrocardiographic Screening in Children With Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Academic Article


  • Some investigators have suggested that children receiving stimulant medications to manage attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder should undergo screening electrocardiography to identify asymptomatic cardiac disease. However, no study to date has examined the efficacy and costs of this strategy. In the present study we sought to determine the utility of electrocardiographic screening in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. We reviewed the clinical experience of electrocardiographic screening of subjects with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder <21 years of age from April to September 2008. Additional cardiac care and testing that resulted from an abnormal initial electrocardiogram were recorded. Screening electrocardiograms were obtained in 1,470 children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and were interpreted as abnormal in 119 subjects (8.1%). Further evaluation of these 119 subjects included 63 transthoracic echocardiograms, 5 stress tests, and 9 Holter monitor studies. Cardiac disease was identified in 5 subjects (0.3% of entire cohort), yielding a positive predictive value of 4.2%. Cardiac diagnoses included ventricular pre-excitation syndrome (n = 2), bicuspid aortic valve (n = 2), and moderate secundum atrial septal defect (n = 1). The mean cost of electrocardiographic screening including further testing for subjects with abnormal initial screen results was $58 per child. The mean cost to identify a true-positive result was $17,162. In conclusion, electrocardiographic screening for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder can successfully identify cardiac disease in otherwise asymptomatic subjects, although the positive predictive value is low. Ongoing studies are needed to know what role electrocardiographic screening should play in the management of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mahle WT; Hebson C; Strieper MJ
  • Start Page

  • 1296
  • End Page

  • 1299
  • Volume

  • 104
  • Issue

  • 9