Heart Screening

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Facts About Heart Screen for Teens

  • What is Heart Screens for Teens?

Heart Screens for Teens is a program that focuses on the prevention of sudden cardiac death in teenage students by screening and detecting common cardiac conditions which can cause sudden “cardiac death in teens (students)”.

  • Who Provides Heart Screens for Teens?

Heart Screens For Teens is provided by New Day Medical Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Stockbridge, GA.

  • What does it mean to “screen” for a condition/disease?

In medical terminology, screening simply means to examine and look for a condition/disease in an individual who does not have any symptoms or complaints related to the condition. For example, one of the most common screening tests is a mammogram that is performed to look for breast cancer in women who do not have symptoms or complaints of breast cancer. In other words, screening involves looking for a possible hidden condition/disease in an individual who appears healthy.

  • How does New Day medical foundation screen Teens (students)?

New Day Medical Foundation screens teens (students) by using an electrocardiogram (EKG) and echocardiogram (Cardiac ultrasound) to look for the most common cardiac conditions/diseases that can cause sudden cardiac death.

  • What kind of preparation does the Teen (student) need before the exam?

The exam is non-invasive, and no special preparation is needed.

  • 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. The EKG usually takes about five 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. The echocardiogram will take about ten minutes to perform.

  • Are there any risks to electrocardiograms (EKGs) and echocardiograms (ECHO) Examination?

Both echocardiograms(echo) and electrocardiograms (EKGs) are noninvasive procedures and have no known significant risks.

  • Who will interpret the results of the heart screen?

A board-certified pediatric cardiologist will interpret the results of the echocardiograms (ECHO) and electrocardiograms (EKG)

  • How long will it take to get the results of the heart screen and who will receive the results?

The results will be mailed or e-mailed to the teen’s (student’s) family within 1-2 weeks.

  • If the Teen (student) has an abnormal heart screen, what happens next?

We will inform the teen’s (student’s) family and primary care doctor. The teen (student) is to follow up with his primary care doctor for further evaluation and possible referral to a pediatric cardiologist. The teen (student) is to stop participating in his respective sports or other strenuous activities.

  • Can the Teen (student) continue to play sports if he or she has an abnormal heart screen?

We recommend that a teen (student) with an abnormal heart screen NOT participate in their respective sports and strenuous activities until they have been evaluated by their primary care doctor or pediatric cardiologist.

  • If the Teen (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 screen once a year. Moreover, teens (students) who develop any of the symptoms listed in the “Medical History Form” need to check with their primary care doctor before continuing their activities.

  • If the Teen (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 teens (students).

  • If the Teen (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 in teens (students) at the time of the evaluation. It does not rule out all the current or future causes of sudden cardiac death.

  • If the Teen (student) has a normal heart screen, does he or she still need to see their primary care doctor?

Yes. We encourage all teens (students) to see their primary care doctor at least once a year regardless of the results of their heart screen.

  • If the teen (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 teen’s (student’s) primary care doctor.

  • If the Teen (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 teens (students) less than 18 even if the consent form is signed.

Fast Facts: Young Athlete and SCD /SCA

  • 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.