The typical school sports physical may fall short in assessing heart health. Because sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes, Beaumont Health cardiologists and partner WXYT-FM, 97.1 The Ticket, offer free Student Heart Check screenings to area high school students.
The next Student Heart Check screening is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at Fordson High School, 13800 Ford Road, Dearborn.
The free student heart screening takes about an hour and will include a medical history, blood pressure check, an electrocardiogram or ECG, a “quick-look” echocardiogram – which is an ultrasound image of the heart.
There is no charge to participate, but registration is required by going to www.beaumont.org/services/heart-vascular/student-heart-check/upcoming-dates.
“One of the most serious conditions we’re looking for through the Student Heart Check screening is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a common cause of death in young athletes,” Beaumont Children’s pediatric cardiologist Dr. Ismael Gonzalez Rangel said. “This is a condition where the walls of the heart are abnormally thick. Not only can this thickness cause blockage of the blood flow of the heart, but it can also put them at risk for life-threatening heart rhythm problems, including sudden cardiac death.”
Beaumont created the Student Heart Check screening program in May 2007. Since then, Beaumont has screened 18,050 students. Of those, 1,873 were recommended to seek follow-up, 211 were told to stop sports and follow up with a cardiologist due to heart abnormalities and nine were diagnosed with HCM. A total of 5,659 were trained in hands only CPR.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the single most common cause of death among U.S. athletes. Nearly 4,000 of these deaths are among young people, and one in 200,000 high school athletes will die suddenly, most without any prior symptoms. In addition, male athletes are 10 times more likely to die suddenly as a result of HCM.
As students go through the screening, Beaumont will offer hands only CPR and automated external defibrillator education and training for students and their parents. Experts say knowing how to perform CPR or operate an AED are essential skills that everyone should learn.
Beaumont also offers resources for adults interested in assessing their risk of heart disease. This includes a free online heart risk assessment that can be completed in minutes. The assessment is available at beaumont.org/heartrisk.
The Student Heart Check program is supported by the Max and Debra Ernst Heart Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak; the Fraternal Order of Eagles; Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; the LiveLikeMax Foundation; Jersey Mike’s; the fundraising efforts of 97.1 FM The Ticket; and others in the community.