Heart and Vascular

Community Partnerships at Work: Heart Screenings for Students

Dec 20 2019

Noah Anderson is an incredibly lucky eight-year-old. During vacation on a cruise with his family earlier this year, Noah suddenly collapsed while playing with his brother.

Fortunately, his grandfather, who had been an EMT, started CPR immediately. Noah’s family learned he had suffered from sudden cardiac arrest, an illness with a 95 percent fatality rate.

According to the group Parent Heart Watch, a student-athlete dies every three days from sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA. Despite this, most parents are not aware of the dangers or symptoms of SCA.

“Sudden cardiac arrest is different than a heart attack. A lot of parents don’t understand that,” explains Chad Ogden, with the mCORE Foundation. “They say my son or daughter isn’t going to have a heart attack.”

While heart attacks are caused by blockage of blood flow to the heart, sudden cardiac arrest is caused by electrical or structural issues in the heart.

To help bring much needed awareness and support to this issue, Mercy Health has teamed up with the mCORE Foundation. Through this partnership we are able to provide proper and affordable heart screenings that test for these issues at partner schools.

“You could go to your primary care and request this type of screening, but more often than not they’re not going to perform an EKG and echo on a seemingly healthy high school aged student without some form of symptoms,” Chad explains. “Missed heartbeats, racing heartbeats, fainting, that kind of thing. So, insurance won’t pick up an electiveEKG, echo.”

Student Cole Honeycutt described the reassurance these tests have given him as an athlete.

“It makes me more comfortable in my capabilities and it’s one less thing to worry about as I go through a sport,” he says.

The Mercy Health and mCORE Foundation heart screenings are currently available about 30 area schools, and sometimes students from other schools are able to come in for screenings as well.

At Mercy Health, our mission is to focus on the health and well-being of our communities, bringing good help to those in need. Learn more about our mission and values.

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