In the name of all California’s youth stricken by sudden cardiac arrest, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation whole-heartedly supports SB 1135: California Youth Heart Screening Pilot Program to protect California’s young hearts.
As reported by the National Emergency Medical Services Information System, 23,000 youth are stricken annually by out-of-hospital cardiac arrest that often has unrecognized warning signs. In fact, up to 50% of youth stricken had no symptoms or risk factors. With studies showing 1 in 300 youth has an undetected heart condition that puts them at risk, and the American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledging warning signs and risk factors are often missed by practitioners and parents alike, it’s time for a new approach to this time-worn problem.
While there’s growing recognition of the value of this public health surveillance, evidenced by President Biden’s authorization of ECG screening for young cadets entering U.S. military academies, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s collaboration with Duke University and the Cardiac Safety Research Consortium on a national cardiac screening warehouse pilot study, the majority of children with undetected heart conditions are still at risk.
The California Youth Heart Screening Pilot Program would extend a successful screening model to kids across California while collecting data on this critical public health issue that ultimately is the cause of more 350,000 U.S. deaths each year when kids grow up with undetected heart conditions.
Of the many tragedies that befall our children, including the leading causes of death (accidents, suicide, homicide, cancer and heart conditions), SCA is arguably the one that can easily and economically be prevented. We express our immense gratitude for advancing legislation that is a step towards achieving this goal.
Mary M. Newman, MS, President & CEO, on behalf of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation