With busy sports schedules ahead for Central Texas youth, Championship Hearts Foundation will offer free heart screenings for students ages 14-18, from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 2, at Ascension Seton Medical Center Hays, 6001 Kyle Parkway.
Parents are welcome and encouraged to accompany their students during the tests. Online pre-registration is required and is now open.
High school athletes and students who participate in cheer leading, marching band, drill team, extreme sports or other strenuous activities are encouraged to get their hearts screened for possible deadly genetic heart conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
“HCM is a genetic heart condition that usually doesn’t impair physical activity, but it is a set-up for a potentially fatal rhythm problem that could happen right on the playing field,” Dr. George Rodgers, president of Championship Hearts Foundation and a cardiologist with Ascension Seton Heart Institute, said. “HCM is very difficult to pick up during a physical examination, but is very easily detected with an echocardiogram” or ECG.
The Foundation estimates 1 in 250 students is at risk for heart abnormalities that could potentially lead to Sudden Cardiac Death. The Championship Hearts screening includes a 12-lead ECG and a limited two-dimensional echocardiogram (ECHO, or picture of the heart) to detect HCM, the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.
These tests are not included in standard preparticipation sports physical exams. Both the ECG and ECHO are noninvasive, painless and valued at over $700. The Championship Hearts screening model is endorsed by the Texas Chapter of the American College of Cardiology as a quality initiative.
This free event is sponsored in part, by Ascension Seton Medical Center Hays and All American Sports’ Hays Heart Classic basketball tournament. Additional support is provided by volunteer local cardiologists from Ascension Seton Heart Institute and by Ascension Seton Hays, which is allowing use of hospital of facilities and equipment free of charge.
Over 20,000 Central Texas students have been screened by Championship Hearts since this program began in 2000, with approximately 1 in 20 being referred for further cardiac testing. Unless cardiac symptoms are present, a heart screening at age 15 or later is usually all that is needed.
Students must have a signed parent waiver in order to receive the heart screening. That waiver will be available at the event and is also available to print from the pre-registration website.
Check-in will take place in the first floor outpatient lobby. Free parking is available in the main parking lot.
While there is no charge for the screening, a tax deductible contribution of $25 is appreciated to support the Foundation’s work. For more information or to volunteer, visit the Foundation’s website or phone (512) 900-3243 or (888) 884-6945.