Aidan received a high-five and a clean bill of health from his pediatrician just six weeks before his unexpected sudden death. His family has no known heart issues and has no previously identified risk factors for heart conditions that cause death under age 50. He was a beautiful, bright, happy spirit, dancing a “silly dance” with his brother just moments before his heart stopped without warning. And just like that, he was gone.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest is caused by undetected heart problems. Most of these conditions have no symptoms. Most can be treated with medical interventions. None can be detected with a stethoscope.Since 1982, Italy has been administering routine EKGs for their athletes lowering the death rate from SCA by 86%.
Aidan’s Heart Foundation directly prevents Sudden Cardiac Arrest in youth by offering free heart screening events in the metropolitan Philadelphia area. From 2011 through 2016, we screened 1,400 youth between ages 5-19. Serious cardiac issues have been detected in more than 10 children and critical follow-up care has been recommended for dozens of others in order to ensure that Sudden Cardiac Arrest does not claim more young lives.
One out of every 100 youth screened is found to need follow-up testing for a potentially life-threatening heart issue that was previously undetected at routine pediatric visits.
An EKG exam is a simple, quick, non-invasive and low-cost method used to screen hearts for abnormalities that can cause Sudden Cardiac Arrest. During an EKG exam, a patient lays on a medical table and small stickers are placed on his/her chest. Plastic electrodes are clipped to tabs on the stickers, and then the EKG technician starts the exam. The EKG machine records the patient’s heart rhythm for about 30 seconds while he/she lays still. The EKG report is then printed and brought to the lead cardiologist for analysis. And that’s it! Quick, painless, and potentially life-saving.
If the doctor notes any potential concern, the patient is referred for a follow-up echocardiagram, or ultrasound of the heart. “Echos” are provided for free at our heart screening events so that families can receive more information about their child’s heart health onsite.