Program offers heart screenings for high school athletes

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Doctors from two Chicago-area hospitals are teaming up to offer heart screenings to prevent sudden death among high school athletes.

Doctors say it happens to more than 3,000 young adults in the United States each year.

The program Young Hearts for Life offers the screenings at Advocate Children’s Hospitals in Park Ridge and Oak Lawn.

The doctors involved say their ECG screenings look for heart problems that might otherwise go undetected, something that standard physical exams don’t include.

The screenings only take about five minutes per student.

Doctors suggest schools set up class trips during lunch hours.

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  • Andrew

    What a total waste of money. There is NO recommendation from any medical association in ANY country in the world that recommends EKGs for screening children.
    This is a cheap ploy by money-hungry Advocate for more business and free publicity.

  • Andrew

    Can they quote any research that shows that EKGs do indeed catch heart disease in children that may endanger their lives? I bet not.

    • jcm

      Here's a quote for you:
      Reframing the debate: Screening athletes to prevent
      sudden cardiac death
      Drezner,MD et al
      Heart Rhythm
      Volume 10, Issue 3, Pages 454-455, March 2013

    • Kathy

      No tax dollars have been used for ANY of the screenings that Young Hearts for Life has done. All screenings (96,000 students) have been done with money from private donations. We are able to do for a low price because Dr. Marek and all of those doing EKGs donate their time.

  • Kathy Marek

    I am a volunteer for Young Hearts for Life (YH4L) which was started by Dr. Joseph Marek, here in Chicago in 2006. We have screened over 96,000 students since the start of the program. We have had over 1500 students that needed further cardiac follow up. Andrew, I would be happy to tell you about the students we found with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Long QT, WPW etc. All of these conditions can cause sudden death. These kids lives were saved by Dr. Marek and his program. YH4L is a FREE program for all high school students. No one is making money. The funds needed for screening are all covered by private donations. Dr. Marek, along with many volunteers, have been giving endless hours of their time. The International Olympic Committee requires all athletes to have an EKG prior to participating in events. In Japan and Italy, students (starting in grammar school) have EKGs every 2 years. The rate of sudden death in these countries, in this age group, has dropped 89%. Andrew, I'd say there is a lot of proof out there. I would encourage you to look at the website for Young Hearts for Life at