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Health News Florida

Free Heart Screenings In Volusia Schools With Goal Of Preventing Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Student athlete track and field runner preparing to race
Braden Collum
/
Studies show sudden cardiac arrest is a leading medical cause of death of student-athletes in the United States.

The quick, painless electrocardiagram can pick up heart abnormalities that left undetected could lead to sudden cardiac arrest, a leading killer of student-athletes.

AdventHealth is partnering with Volusia County schools to offer middle and high school student-athletes free heart screenings called electrocardiograms.

The quick, painless screening can pick up heart abnormalities that left undetected could lead to life-threatening sudden cardiac arrest.  Studies show sudden cardiac arrest is a leading medical cause of death of student-athletes in the United States.

AdventHealth’s Erik Nason says he expects the screenings might detect potentially deadly abnormal heart rhythms in 17 students out of the 900 they screen.

Nason says that might seem like a small number, but it could save those students’ lives by helping them get the treatment they need.

“It will save the lives of those individuals because now they’ll know there’s an underlying condition in their heart that I hate saying it but it’s like a ticking time bomb. You don’t know if there’s an abnormality,” he says.

The screenings are voluntary for students this school year, but will be required for all middle and high school student-athletes in the county during the 2022-2023 school year. 

Nason says these screenings will be offered in June during free state-required sports physicals.

“It’s like having your house wired incorrectly and there could be a short, or there could be a blown breaker, or something that could, a surge that could affect your home’s equipment," Nason says. "It’s the same thing with your heart. If something’s not functioning right the heart quickly shuts down and stops. Which is obviously not a good thing. And we want to be able to prevent that.”

Also, Volusia schools purchased 30 automated external defibrillators for teams to use during practices or games to respond to heart-related medical emergencies.

Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.