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Free heart screenings for students Saturday

October 23, 2013 - A free student heart screening offered through the Healthy Heart Check Program at Beaumont Hospital will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Oxford High School.

Students must be registered to participate. Parents can call (800) 328-8542 to sign up.

Every year, students die from sudden cardiac arrest due to abnormal heart structure or abnormal rhythms. This important program can help detect young people who are at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

Beaumont offers free heart checks to high school students that include: Medical history evaluation, blood pressure check, physical examination, electrocardiogram, or ECG, and echocardiogram.

This type of cardiac screening is generally not included in the routine physical required before participating in school sports. The Beaumont Healthy Heart Check Student Heart Screening is designed for students ages 13 to 18. Younger children are not typically screened because structural abnormalities including abnormal heart muscle thickening, which is the most common cause of sudden death in the U.S., do not become apparent until later in adolescence.

An Oxford grad and current junior varsity football coach, Chris Keenist, is a spokesman for the test and knows how it can save lives. Keenist played football and basketball at Oxford and went on to play football at Adrian College in 2011.

Less than two weeks into his college football career, he was rushed to Beaumont Hospital where he was diagnosed with Cardio Myopathy. He was one of the lucky ones. The condition was discovered before it was too late. Many young athletes aren't so lucky.

Over the last eight years, at least 29 Michigan high school students have died because of sudden cardiac arrest. The majority of these young athletes who died suddenly have no symptoms and most of the victims have had Cardio Myopathy, which is one of the most serious heart problems facing young athletes today.

Cardio Myopathy can be diagnosed in a pre-participation screening, which includes a brief heart exam, a twelve-lead electrocardiogram and, if necessary, an echocardiogram.

This program has already helped detect some serious heart issues among young athletes and undoubtedly saved lives.

Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.
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