Heart experts say kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder should be screened for certain heart conditions before going on some ADHD drugs.
Studies have shown that stimulant medications can increase heart rate and blood pressure. These are side effects that wouldn't affect most children, but could be very serious, and even deadly, for those with certain heart conditions.
The American Heart Association has issued a statement recommending children undergo an electrocardiogram before beginning stimulant drugs to treat ADHD. An ECG measures the heart's electrical activity and can often identify abnormalities in heart rhythm that may lead to sudden cardiac death.
The statement also encourages doctors to reevaluate children and teens already on these drugs.