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UVa Children's Hospital Respond To New ADHD Recommendations

April 25, 2008

The Pediatric Cardiology Division at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital will begin offering electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG) for children on stimulant medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

The move comes after the American Heart Association recommended that children on stimulant medications, such as those used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), receive a thorough family history and cardiac exam by their medical care providers and an ECG read by a pediatric cardiologist to screen for significant heart disease.

Experts at UVA Children’s Hospital say the recommendations are conservative but the information is worth knowing.

Families should be reassured that there is no real urgency for a patient who is not having any difficulties,” said Dr. Paul Matherne, director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at UVA Children’s Hospital. “According to the guidelines parents should not stop their child’s medication and can have this screening done by their medical care provider at their next appointment."

According to Dr. George McDaniel, director of the Pediatric Electrophysiology Program at UVA Children’s Hospital, this exam is important because not all children show obvious signs of a heart condition or abnormality.

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