What is Heart Screens for Teens?
Heart Screens for Teens is a non-profit organization that focuses on the prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) in our youth by screening and detecting common cardiac conditions. Our Mission is to Educate and help Eliminate Preventable Deaths through Early Detection.
Who Provides your Heart Screens?
All Screenings will be performed by Professional Technicians and Sonographers whose everyday jobs are doing just the same, preforming Electrocardiograms and Echocardiograms!
What does it mean to “screen” for a condition/disease?
Screening simply means to examine and look for a condition/disease in an individual who does not have any symptoms or complaints. Screening involves looking for a possible hidden condition/disease in an individual who, on the outside, appears perfectly healthy!
How does Heart Screens for Teens Screen Students?
By using an Electrocardiogram (EKG) and a Limited Echocardiogram (Cardiac ultrasound) to look for the most common cardiac conditions/diseases that could cause Sudden Cardiac Death.
What kind of preparation does your Student need before the exam?
Their cardiac screening is non-invasive, and no special preparation is needed, however, we do suggest not wearing lotions or perfumes.
What is an Electrocardiogram (EKG)?
An EKG is a test that checks for problems with the electrical system of the heart. An EKG is done by placing electrodes (small and sticky patches) on the chest wall, arm, and leg, and only takes up to 10 minutes to perform.
What is an Echocardiogram (ECHO)?
An Echocardiogram is a special ultrasound of the heart. Using sound waves, an Echocardiogram produces images of heart structures and their function and will take up to twenty minutes to perform.
Are there any risks to Electrocardiogram (EKG) and Echocardiograms (ECHO)
Both Electrocardiograms (EKGs) and Echocardiograms (echoes) are non-invasive procedures and have no known significant risks.
Who will interpret the results of the heart screen?
Our board-certified Pediatric Cardiologist will interpret the results of all Screenings.
How long will it take to get the results of the Heart Screens and who will receive the results?
The results will be mailed or e-mailed to the student’s family within 1-2 weeks.
We will inform the Students Family and Primary Care Doctor. A follow up with their Primary Care Doctor should be scheduled as soon as possible. A referral to a Pediatric Cardiologist may be necessary.
We recommend any student with an abnormal heart screen NOT participate in their respective sport, or any other strenuous activities, until they have been evaluated by their primary care doctor or pediatric cardiologist.
If the Student has a normal heart screen, does this mean he or she does not need to be screened in the future?
No. Because cardiac diseases can evolve and develop at any time, we recommend that students have a cardiac screening every two years. Moreover, Students who develop any of the symptoms listed (see What is SCA?) in the need to check with their primary care doctor before continuing their activities.
If the Student has a completely normal heart screen, does this mean all cardiac abnormalities have been ruled out?
No. Our cardiac screens are not complete studies and are limited to only the most common heart conditions associated with sudden cardiac death in Students.
If the Student has a completely normal heart screen, does this mean he or she is not at risk for sudden cardiac death?
No. A normal heart screen means that the teen Student has no cardiac findings of the most common causes of sudden cardiac death at the time of the evaluation. It does not rule out all the current or future causes of sudden cardiac death.
If the Student has a normal heart screen, does he or she still need to see their primary care doctor?
Yes. We encourage all Students to see their primary care doctor at least once a year, regardless of the results of their heart screen.
If the Student has a normal heart screen, does he or she still need to see their primary care doctor to get their pre-participation sports physical?
Yes. Pre-participation sports physicals can only be done by the student’s primary care doctor. Pre-participation sports physical forms can only be signed by the Students primary care doctor.
If the Student is less than 18, does a parent or legal guardian need to be present even if the consent form is signed?
Yes. A parent or legal guardian must accompany all Students less than 18, even if the consent form is signed.
Young Athlete and SCD /SCA
- Without IMMEDIATE treatment, only 5-10% of people survive a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.
- In the United States, a young competitive athlete dies suddenly every three days.
- Young athletes are more than twice as likely to experience SCD than young non-athletes.
- Most victims are male (90%).
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a disease that causes thickening of the heart muscle, is the leading cardiovascular cause of SCD (36%) in young athletes.
- More than half of HCM sudden death victims are black athletes (52%).
- The average age when SCD occurs in young athletes is 17.5 years.
- The risk of SCD increases with age.
- More than two-thirds of young athletes who die suddenly are basketball and football players (67%)
- SCD in soccer players is increasing; empirical and anecdotal statistics suggest that because soccer is flourishing in the United States of America, SCD is expected to exceed that of other sports