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Starting next year, the U.S. military plans to launch a cardiac screening program for all potential recruits, according to Proposed federal legislation mandates the Department of Defense (DoD) begin a pilot program by October 2024, providing electrocardiograms (ECGs) to military recruits. This initiative follows the extension of current ECG screening programs used by the Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy, and West Point, which began after 2 Naval Academy student deaths resulted from cardiac arrest in 2020. The screenings were once part of routine procedures to join the military. However, ECGs produced a high rate of false positives, so they were abandoned a decade ago. The legislation requires the DoD to submit a report to Congress detailing the pilot’s results, rates of anomalies detected, and associated costs.

How the Navy’s ECGs turned out: In 2020, the first round of screening for 4,000 midshipmen at the Naval Academy produced 87 abnormal tests. Six servicemen received treatment, 11 were recommended for monitoring, and 2 were medically separated, according to the news report.

Military Reinstates ECG Screenings For Recruits