Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the #1 Cause of Death of Student Athletes.

Exeter, NH, May 26, 2019 — Kevin D. Heaton, DO of Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics will be providing complimentary electrocardiogram (EKG) screenings for Portsmouth High School athletes on Monday, June 10th and Winnacunnet High School athletes on Tuesday, June 11th. This voluntary screening is a measurement of the electric activity of the heart and possible hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

Sudden death in athletes is an extremely rare event yet no less tragic for its infrequency. Most of these deaths are due to underlying cardiovascular diseases and therefore categorized as sudden cardiac death (SCD). The leading causes of SCD among young athletes are cardiac diseases, particularly hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is considered to be the most common cause of exercise–related sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young athletes in the United States. HCM can be entirely silent in terms of symptoms and can escape detection during routine athletic physicals. Estimates of the prevalence of the genetic abnormalities causing HCM are on the order of 1 out of 500 in the general population.

In addition to screening for HCM, an EKG can look for “electrical” cardiac anomalies (e.g. Long QT syndrome, Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome) that can also cause sudden death. The EKG is the same as one would get at a hospital or doctor’s office.

In the event that the screening picks up any abnormality, the athlete will referred for further expert cardiology evaluation and care. This is a free service being offered by Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics, the same group who provides athletic training services for Portsmouth and Winnacunnet High Schools.

Registration for Portsmouth and Winnacunnet High School students can be done through their respective Athletic Offices. For more information on electrocardiogram screenings, Dr. Heaton, and/or Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics, please call (603) 274-9260 or visit www.accesssportsmed.com.

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