ADHD medications, ADHD stimulants, EKG for ADD patients

EKG Debate a New Worry for ADHD Sufferers

July 30, 2008 12:44 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
As the debate stirs over whether to give electrocardiograms to children taking ADHD stimulant medications, parents wonder whom to believe.

30-Second Summary

In April 2008, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended that children with ADHD “have a thorough heart work-up, including an electrocardiogram (EKG), before taking stimulants such as Ritalin to treat the condition,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

Although stimulants “can increase blood pressure and heart rate and carry warnings about risks for sudden deaths in patients with heart problems,” according to USA Today, some physicians have spoken out in opposition to the EKG recommendation.

“Worth remembering is that the risk for sudden death associated with stimulant medication is extremely rare,” said Dr. Andrew Oakes-Lottridge to the Fort Meyers News Press.

Furthermore, the AHA recommendation was largely misconstrued as a requirement. In May, the AHA released a second statement that urged physicians to use their own judgment about the use of EKGs.

The American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that EKGs are unnecessary in most cases, and would require “costly heart work-ups,” possibly limiting “access to effective ADHD treatments.” A physical exam and check of family history are sufficient, said the academy.

Headline Link: Pediatrics group is skeptical

Background: Doctors and experts question EKG

Related Topic: ADHD medication alternatives

Opinion & Analysis: A closer look at the EKG recommendation

Reference: ADHD guide; AHA statement


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines