The heart is one of our most important organs, yet it is often overlooked. When children are born, they receive a pulse oximetry to check the oxygen level in their blood. This exam can reveal a congenital heart defect. After that, we use a stethoscope to listen to their heart every year. That’s it.
For an organ that beats over 115,000 time per day, distributes blood and oxygen to every part of our body, that's it.
Sudden cardiac arrest takes the lives of thousands of children every year. It is the #1 cause of death for student athletes. It kills more adults than lung cancer, breast cancer and AIDS, combined. But, that's it.
It is not enough. Simon's Heart believes that all students should get their hearts screened. It should be a cardiac standard of care. And it should be a free heart test.
Research shows that cardiac screenings – when coupled with a good medical history and physical exam– are much more effective at detecting heart conditions. A heart screening can do more to prevent sudden cardiac arrest than just questions and listening to the heart.
With the help of our leadership team and fundraising events, we have administered over 14,000 free heart screenings! Those are some big numbers and we plan on making them even bigger. We plan a block of heart screenings in the spring and again in the fall. In total, we usually have 6 to 7 of these events a year for students ages 12 to 9. Check out the upcoming heart screenings on our Calendar page to find a heart screening near you.
What happens during a cardiac screening?
Our heart screenings include a thorough medical and family history, physical exam and ECG. "EKG" stands for an electrocardiogram, which is a common test that looks for an irregularity in the rhythm of your heart. It can also be abbreviated as ECG.
About ten percent of the students will also get an echocardiogram based on family history or an abnormal ECG.
Our screenings are intended for students who have never received an EKG exam or been seen by a cardiologist. The screening is not a substitute for regular visits to your family doctor. Be sure to share the results of the free EKG screening with your physician.
The steps for a successful heart test:
Complete a short online medical history form.
We’ll check your blood pressure, height, and weight.
An EKG will be performed. Stickers with small electrodes will be placed on your chest, legs and arms to measure the activity of your heart.
You might get an echocardiogram based on your medical history or the EKG. It takes a picture of your heart.
Using all the information gathered during your cardiac screening, the cardiologist will let you know about your heart’s health or recommend a full cardiac evaluation.
Click here to register for an upcoming screening.
To see a list of our past screenings, click here.
If you live outside of the Greater Philadelphia area, visit our other site, Screen Across America, to locate a heart screening near you.