My loved one

My loved one

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 122

My son, Will, was 16 when he was playing floor hockey in a Summer PE class. He collapsed and it took 11 minutes for paramedics to reach him with a defibrillator. He died on June 8, 2004. We later found out that the athletic department had an AED locked in a training office and had not told anyone about it. Subsequently, the school district widened their training program and bought defibrillators for every campus in the district.

Ann Nunnally

Joseph, my shining boy of

  • SCAFoundation's picture
  • SCAFoundation
  • 11/16/2007
  • Posts: 122

Joseph, my shining boy of 14, was running a 5k for his high school XC team in the Maine 2003 XC Festival of Champions. He did not come in at the finish. There was no AED available. There was an athletic trainer and an athletic director as well as coaches and principals BUT there was no emergency response plan. Walkie talkies and the PA sound system were not used to help locate my son. School officials decided to continue the races for 1 1/2 hrs. before searching for him. When a search began, he was found in 10 minutes alongside the trail. The medical reports put the time of death just minutes before we found him, probable cardiac arrhythmia after lying in the cold rain so long. An AED program/response plan would have prevented his death. Joe had no known cardiac condition or family history. His heart showed no structural defect.

We are trying to inform schools of SCA and help support AED programs in all high schools and athletic events.

Maura DiPrete

It is sad that up until now

  • orlandparktodd's picture
  • orlandparktodd
  • 05/14/2008
  • Posts: 4

It is sad that up until now most peopel believed this never happened to chidlren or young people.  Defibrillators are indeed part of the hope that his won't happen to others.  Another hope is that every child will have an EKG.  Some school district in the Naperville area of Illinois are now "doing" mandatory EKGs on all students involved in sports.  A cardiologist has trained volunteer parents in taking EKGs., a medical company has provided the equipment, and doctors are reading the EKGs.  It won't catch all of the problems, but this program identified 60 students who had unusual or abnormal EKgs.  One student had heart surgery shortly after.  The parents were notified by letter and advised to have their child tested further.

EKG screenings set hearts at

  • orlandparktodd's picture
  • orlandparktodd
  • 05/14/2008
  • Posts: 4

EKG screenings set hearts at rest
DuPage students are tested for possibly deadly conditions
By James Kimberly
Tribune staff reporter

January 23, 2007

At first, the offer of a free heart screening for her 14-year-old son struck Dawn Goulbourn as unnecessary.

After all, Rhys had a sonogram of his heart performed when he was 2 after a murmur was detected. Everything checked out.

"Then I thought, why not? It's just another checkpoint," said Goulbourn of Naperville.

The electrocardiogram performed last fall at Naperville Central High School found a problem, and Rhys underwent a surgical procedure to fix it last week at Advocate Hope Children's Hospital in Oak Lawn.

Rhys' heart ailment was caught thanks to an ambitious effort under way in DuPage County to test the hearts of every high school freshman. The examinations are of unprecedented scale in the Chicago area and are being conducted by the Midwest Heart Foundation, the charitable arm of the cardiology practice Midwest Heart Specialists.

Dr. Joseph Marek said he began thinking about how to screen the hearts of children after reading about the sudden death of a Neuqua Valley High School basketball player. Roosevelt Jones III, 17, of Naperville died Oct. 4, 2004, of an undiagnosed heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy while playing in a pickup basketball game at the school. The Midwest Heart Foundation decided to try using electrocardiograms to screen for potential heart problems after reading about similar efforts in Europe, Marek said.

"This issue of sudden death in young athletes has always been a concern for us as cardiologists, and as a parent, you can't imagine getting that phone call," Marek said.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic condition that causes the wall separating the heart's chambers to become too thick. Under stress, the defective heart can seize up and stop. Heart-related ailments are to blame for 69 percent of the deaths of young athletes, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart ailment.

Many times the ailment is not discovered until it is too late.

"There's a saying: `The first symptom [of the ailment] is sudden death,'" said Larry Scire, manager of sports medicine at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

The best way to diagnose hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is with an echocardiogram, which allows a doctor to see an image of the heart. For three years, Scire and Dr. Joel Okner have been offering free echocardiograms to student athletes in Lake County. They have screened 4,000 students in three years and found three anomalies.

But an echocardiogram is an expensive and complicated test, difficult to do efficiently on large numbers of people, Marek said. So the Midwest Heart Foundation decided to test children with electrocardiograms, which show doctors the rhythm of heartbeats by tracking the electrical activity in the muscles.

The test is not a perfect solution, Marek acknowledges, but it is better than doing nothing, he said. Most heart problems can be detected with an electrocardiogram, Marek said.

"EKGs are cheaper and easier to do, and we are able to detect the most common causes of sudden death in young athletes," Marek said.

An EKG costs about $22 a person to perform; the foundation hopes to test 28,000 high school students in DuPage County. Marek believes it is important to test all students, not just athletes who must undergo physical examinations by trained professionals before they are allowed to compete.

The Midwest Heart Foundation has received funding commitments for about 10 percent of the project's $634,000 budget, said foundation CEO Wendy Landow.

To cut costs and accomplish the ambitious goal, the Midwest Heart Foundation borrows equipment, solicits donations and trains parents to help with the EKG exams.

Last week, Midwest Heart made a second visit to Naperville Central High School to complete its screening of students there.

During physical education class, boys were separated from girls and stood shirtless as trained volunteers applied electrodes to their chests, arms and legs. Midwest Foundation screened more than 700 students Friday. Two cardiologists were on hand to read the EKGs at the school.

The foundation offered screenings to all students at Naperville North and Naperville Central, not just the freshmen. The foundation also has screened students at Fenwick High School in Oak Park and Butler Junior High School in Oak Brook.

In all, Midwest Heart has screened 3,500 children; about 60 had abnormal readings. The foundation notified parents of the results by mail and encouraged those with abnormal readings to follow up with a physician. If the EKG reading looked particularly serious, a Midwest physician called the parents with the news.

Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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