GENESEE COUNTY – The Hurley Children’s Hospital Teen Health Checks are potentially saving lives. As a result of these free community screenings, dozens of students in Genesee County have either been told to stop playing sports immediately or to follow up with their physicians because a potentially life-threatening condition was detected.
Carman Ainsworth Middle School, 1409 W. Maple Road, is the host site for the next screening to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, January 17. Preregistration is required and includes two consent forms available online.
Twelve (1 percent) of 1248 teens ages 13-19 screened since 2011 were told to stop playing sports immediately, according to a press release. Conditions detected include Wolff-Parkinson- White Syndrome, Abnormal Valve Function , Severely Elevated Blood Pressure, 2nd degree AV block Type I, Abnormal Family History, Atrial Septal Abnormality, LV Noncompaction Cardiomyopathy, and LVH Subaortic Stenosis AI. An additional 71 students (5.8%) were told to follow up with their physician.
“Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in young athletes,” said Dr. Jim Weber, ER Physician on staff at Hurley. “This program is saving lives, and detecting serious conditions. A screening only takes 30 minutes, and can offer peace of mind to students and their families, concerned about the risk of sudden cardiac death and premature hypertension.”
These free Teen Health Checks are made possible in part by the Thomas Smith Foundation, created in memory of Thomas N. Smith, 17, a Flushing High School senior, who passed away in January, 2011 from an undiagnosed, enlarged heart. Thomas’ memory will live on by helping other young athletes through these teen heart screenings. This special program offers an in-depth heart screening that includes a medical history, blood pressure check and an ECG. Echocardiograms will also be provided, if needed. The screening looks for evidence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a serious condition that can cause sudden cardiac death in young athletes as well as in students engaging in physical activity or exercise.
To register your teen, call 810-262- 9260 and press option #1. Registration lines are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information and to download consent forms, go to www.Tommysheart.org.
This screening program was first developed at Beaumont Hospital in Detroit in 2007 with the intention of identifying high school age students who might be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest and other cardiovascular complications. To date more than 7,000 teens have been screened in Michigan. — R.S.