Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. While atherosclerotic heart disease is prevalent in adults, sudden cardiac death is also the leading cause of death in young athletes.
In both the old and the young, prevention is key in helping thousands of people. Many efforts over the years have been made by doctors and health care professionals to contribute to this goal.
At Hurley Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Department, the continuous focus on heart health in the Greater Flint community is a vital and ongoing goal. Together with the Center’s ER physicians, sonographers, nurses and clinical support staff, we are dedicated to education and enhancing heart disease prevention. As a result, it’s transforming the way we approach managing heart disease in our community.
One such program is the Hurley Teen Heart Health Check. This special, free program offers an in-depth heart screening that includes a medical history, blood pressure check and an electrocardiogram, or ECG. Those who have abnormalities are offered echocardiograms for further evaluation and definition of the presence or absence of disease.
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.
This program is saving lives, and detecting serious conditions. The screening takes just about 30 minutes; those with concerning findings will receive the right care right away, while those with no abnormalities, and their families, will have peace of mind and may proceed with their athletic endeavors with confidence.
Since 2011, nearly 1,500 teens between the ages of 13 and 19 have been screened to evaluate their hearts for abnormalities, particularly as it relates to exercise and sudden death. Since these checks began, 18 teens were told to stop playing sports immediately. 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, Left Ventricular Non-Compaction Cardiomyopathy, and LVH Sub-Aortic Stenosis, and aortic insufficiency. An additional 71 students were told to follow up with their physicians.
Our vision is to continue programs that pursue educating the public, which in turn will enhance awareness of risk factors and how to manage them in order to reduce risk.
Many negative outcomes can be prevented, and Hurley Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Department is dedicated and focused on strongly participating in that. When a negative outcome does occur, immediate action with effective treatment is needed and implemented. This is what we are prepared to do and have been doing. It’s part of Hurley’s ongoing mission of “Clinical Excellence, Service to People.”
This program is detecting serious conditions and saving lives.
The Thomas Smith Memorial Foundation http://www.TommysHeart.org has provided essential funding to purchase the equipment necessary to conduct the Hurley Teen Heart Health Checks. A BIG thank you goes out to the Foundation, the Smith Family, and all of the volunteers they bring to each event.