Canby High School hosts free youth heart screening event
Kids are off and running in their spring sports, but school district staff want to make sure those kids are playing safe.
Canby High School is hosting a free heart screening event for youth ages 12-18 provided by Providence Play Smart Youth Heart Screenings on April 19 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in room 101 at the high school.
The quick and simple screening includes a questionnaire, weight, height, blood pressure measurement and a 12-lead electrocardiogram (which is not a part of normal pediatric well visits or sports physicals). Kids get to take home a printout of their own EKG.
Portland Timbers' cardiologist James Beckerman, of the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute who co-founded the program with Play Smart Manager Lydia Hibsch, volunteers his time to read all of the EKGs, according to Heather Sparks, the district's communication coordinator.
What: Free youth Heart Screenings
-questionnaire, weight, height, blood pressure, 12-lead electrocardiogram
-echocardiogram and visit with cardiologist for those who require follow-up
When: Thursday, April 19 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Canby High School room 101
Who: All youth ages 12-18
Providence Heart Institute holds the Play Smart screenings in an effort to reduce the number of sudden cardiac arrests in young people, the leading cause of which is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited disease that affects one in 500 people, according to Providence.
"We want to screen all youth, not just athletes," Hibsch said as she warned that kids who are less active pose heart health risks as well.
Play Smart is funded almost entirely through donors of the Providence Medical Foundation. They have traveled more than 7,200 miles, the distance from Oregon to the Taj Mahal, and screened more than 23,000 youth.
If a child has a family history of heart disease, or has exhibited cardiac symptoms such as fainting or dizziness, the screening at Canby High would be an opportunity to have the child screened for possible cardiac abnormalities. However, Providence warns that some kids have no symptoms at all.
Approximately seven percent of youth who are screened require follow-up treatment. Those who have abnormal results from the initial screening will receive free follow-up with a cardiologist and an echocardiogram. While the school is the venue for the screenings, the results go directly to parents or guardians.
"That's pretty unheard of to get a free EKG and a free echocardiogram," said Hibsch. "This is really an incredible free service that we offer."
This event will be the third offered at Canby High this school year. District Nurse Ruth Vandecoevering and Athletic Director Mark Martens met with Hibsch last June to establish the partnership. In order to continue the free service in Canby, each event needs to have at least 100 participants. The first two screenings yielded a total of 218 participants, barely making the minimum cut, Sparks said.
Parents do not need to accompany their children for the screening, as the school district does secure parental consent for this noninvasive procedure, Sparks said. Parents or guardians of high school students can encourage their kids to participate. Those who want a screening for their elementary or middle school students, ages 12 and up, bring them to the high school during screening times.
For inquiries about special scheduling accommodations, contact Vandecoevering at 503-266-0080.