FREEPORT— More than 1,500 people under the age of 18 die from cardiac dysfunction each year, and young athletes suffer sudden cardiac death at a rate two to three times as high as their less active peers. FHN and Freeport High School will offer free ECG screenings to Freeport High School students on April 26.
Students can pick up materials to register for the screening Monday and Tuesday April 15-16 at the Freeport High School cafeteria. Completed registration materials are due by Friday, April 19.
“A simple, non-invasive electrocardiogram (ECG) can detect certain serious heart conditions,” said FHN Vice President of Medical Affairs Robert Geller, MD. “Recording the electrical activity of the heart using electrodes attached to the skin with a mild adhesive can detect approximately 60 percent of the abnormalities or ‘markers’ from these heart conditions.”
About 50 students took part in the program in 2012, the first year it was offered. Parents or guardians must sign a permission form to allow their child to be screened. Results are private and shared only with the student and his or her guardian or parents.
If an abnormality is detected during a screening, the student’s parents will be notified by phone and letter of the results and advised to see the student’s healthcare provider to follow up. About 2 percent of ECG screenings result in “false positives” after additional evaluation and testing by the student’s healthcare provider. FHN and Freeport High School believe that the benefit of this potentially life-saving screening outweighs this concern.
“We hope that parents will take advantage of this free opportunity to screen their students for heart abnormalities,” said Freeport High School Nurse Bonita Brouhard, RN. “If there is interest from the families, we hope to conduct these screenings every two years.”
For more information on sudden cardiac death and the importance of ECG screenings, visit www.fhn.org.