Beaumont offers free student heart checks Oct. 26 at Oxford High School

High school students and parents beware: the typical school sports physical may fall short in assessing heart health. Because sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes, Beaumont Health System cardiologists and partners WXYZ Channel 7 and 97.1 The Ticket continue to offer free Student Heart Check screenings to area high school students.

The next Student Heart Check event is Saturday, Oct. 26, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Oxford High School, 745 N. Oxford Road in Oxford.

The screening will include a medical history, blood pressure check, an electrocardiogram or ECG, and a "quick-look" echocardiogram, an ultrasound image of the heart.

Although there is no charge to participate, registration is required. Call toll-free 800-328-8542 or visit http://heart.beaumont.edu/upcoming-student-heart-screenings to register online.

Pediatric cardiologist, Nancy Cutler, M.D., Beaumont Children's Hospital, says, "One of the most serious conditions we're looking for through the Student Heart Checks is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a common cause of death in young athletes. This is a condition where the walls of the heart are abnormally thick. Not only can this thickness cause blockage of the blood flow of the heart, but it can also put them at risk for life-threatening heart rhythm problems, including sudden cardiac death. As a doctor and a mother, we don't want to see your child, friend or neighbor have one of these sudden events."

The Student Heart Check, part of Beaumont's Healthy Heart Check program, was created by Beaumont Health System in May 2007. Since then, Beaumont has screened 9,244 Michigan high school students. Of those students, 61 were told to stop sports and follow up with a cardiologist due to heart abnormalities and four were diagnosed with HCM.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is the single most common cause of death among U.S. athletes. Nearly 4,000 of these deaths are among young people, and one in 200,000 high school athletes will die suddenly, most without any prior symptoms. In addition, male athletes are 10 times more likely to die suddenly as a result of HCM.

The Student Heart Check program is supported by Max and Debra Ernst through the Ernst Cardiovascular Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak; the Fraternal Order of Eagles; Children's Miracle Network Hospitals; the Charlie Saunders Foundation; Jersey Mike's, Boco Enterprises Inc. and the fundraising efforts of 97.1 FM The Ticket. Find out more at http://heart.beaumont.edu/student-screening.

# # #