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Screenings Can Reveal Cardiac Abnormalities in Teens

Screenings can reveal cardiac abnormalities in teens

Those who volunteered at Saturday’s teen heart screening are Crystal Trevino, back row from left, Ron Kalt, Briana Haggard, Kathy Everett, Andrea Webster, Clay Wooten, Dr. Michael Miller; Laura Rivas, middle row from left, Liz Martin, Dr. Sulay Patel, Jenny Delk-Fikes, Dr. Leela Lella; and Shawn Stark, front row from left Holly Baker, Stephanie Crawford, Stacey Medrano, Morgan Tennis and Kelsey Bohanon

More than 300 teenagers, parents, community volunteers, medical technicians and local cardiologists participated in the free teen heart screening Saturday at Midland Memorial Hospital. The screenings were offered through a partnership between MMH and Championship Hearts Foundation, an Austin-based nonprofit agency. The mission of Championship Hearts -- which will offer the screenings again next month -- is to reduce the incidence of sudden cardiac death in Texas teens.

Cardiac disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., yet the adolescent population is not one that is usually screened for heart abnormalities. The leading cause of sudden cardiac death in active youth is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a serious heart condition that affects 1 in 500 of the general population. HCM doesn't have any symptoms, and sudden cardiac arrest is usually the first sign of any trouble. During the last 19 years, Championship Hearts has screened more than 25,000 Texas youth and has determined on average, 1 in 250 has a condition known to cause sudden cardiac death.

The free heart screening offered by Championship Hearts Foundation includes a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) and a limited echocardiogram (ECHO), two tests not usually part of standard pre-participation medical examinations for adolescents. The estimated cost of these tests is $700, but through the foundation, the screenings are offered free to 14- to 18-year-olds. The tests are non-invasive and painless.

Although designed to detect HCM, the screening can also reveal other serious heart abnormalities such as long QT syndrome, Wolff Parkinson White syndrome and bicuspid aortic valve. The Championship Hearts screening program is recognized by the Texas Chapter of the American College of Cardiology as a quality initiative.

Close to 200 Midland teens received the heart screening that provides important baseline health knowledge for those students and their families. Local volunteer cardiologists provided immediate screening results to appreciative parents, and six students were referred for further pediatric cardiology evaluation for a variety of suspected conditions. For most of the attendees, the entire process was complete in about one hour.

The Championship Hearts Foundation and MMH will offer the free Teen Heart Screening 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Jan. 12. Pre-registration is available online at www.ChampHearts.org, or by calling the foundation at 888-884-6945 or 512-900-3243.

Volunteer opportunities are available via links on the Foundation website.

Michelle Garcia is executive director of Championship Hearts Foundation.

Story Credit: https://www.mrt.com/news/health_and_wellness/article/Screenings-can-reveal-cardiac-abnormalities-in-13476051.php

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