What is a heart screening?
Our free heart screenings may reveal undetected heart abnormalities that could put teens at risk for Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The screening includes a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), and if necessary a limited echocardiogram (ECHO). The ECG reads your heartbeat and the ECHO captures an image of your heart. The process is completely painless, non-invasive, and takes about 20 minutes. NOTE: WAIT TIME MAY VARY.
What is sudden cardiac death (SCD)?
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is an unexpected death caused by loss of heart function. SCD may be the first sign of a heart problem. SCD can be caused by a number of different heart problems, many of which are hereditary.
What heart conditions are screened for at an Augustheart Screening?
Below is a brief description of the heart conditions for which AugustHeart can effectively screen; representing some of the more common causes of why children and young adults might die suddenly.
HYPERTROPHIC CARDIOMYOPATHY (HCM): This is a problem of the heart muscle where the bottom chambers (or ventricles) are too thick. The risk of this condition has been reported to be as frequent as 1 in 500 individuals. DILATED CARDIOMYOPATHY: This is a problem where the heart muscle is too large and does not squeeze as it is supposed to. The risk of this condition is estimated to be 1 in 2,000 individuals.AORTIC ROOT ANEURYSM: This is a problem of an abnormal enlargement of the main artery that arises from the heart and is responsible for delivering oxygenated blood to the body. The risk of this condition is estimated to be 1 in 10,000 individuals.LONG QT SYNDROME: This is a problem of the electricity of the heart that is caused by an issue with how the heart muscle handles essential elements like sodium and potassium. Children with this condition can suddenly develop unstable heart rhythms. The risk is as high as 1 in 5,000 individuals.WOLFF-PARKINSON-WHITE (WPW) SYNDROME: This is a problem of the electricity of the heart that is caused by an abnormal connection between the top and bottom pumping chambers. This condition can cause very fast heartbeats and, rarely, an unstable heart rhythm. The risk of this condition has been reported to be as frequent as 1 in 1,500 individuals.
What is an echocardiogram (ECHO)?
An ECHO uses sound waves to view moving images of the heart muscle and valves. It is a non-invasive and safe way to study the anatomy of the heart. To perform the ECHO, the student lies on an exam table and a sonographer (ECHO technician) moves a transducer or probe over the chest area to measure the thickness of the heart wall. This process captures images of the heart to aid a cardiologist in detecting potential abnormalities.
What is an electrocardiogram (ECG)?
An ECG is simple and painless way to record the electrical signals of the heart. Small stickers known as electrodes are placed on the chest area and connect to an ECG machine. The electrical activity of the heart is recorded for evaluation by the cardiologist. This test measures the rhythm & electrical activity of your heart. Small sticky pads are placed on your body connected to wires that link up to the ECG machine. The machine reads & records, on paper, the electrical signals from your heart.
Why may both ECG and limited ECHO tests be necessary?
AugustHeart provides heart screenings in an effort to prevent sudden cardiac death in teens. An ECG records the electrical activity of the heart and is used to detect rhythm disorders such as long QT syndrome or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. The limited ECHO captures images of the heart structure which are very helpful for detecting abnormalities of heart wall thickness such as HCM—the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.
Does University Interscholastic League (UIL) require heart testing on all athletes?
Why screen students 14 to 18 years of age?
Current guidelines from UIL require high school students engaging in athletics to only complete a cardiac questionnaire, undergo a physical examination by a family physician, pediatrician or chiropractor, and sign a Sudden Cardiac Awareness Form. Download Form PDF
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a serious heart condition that is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Since the heart is physically immature under the age of 14, risk of developing HCM increases with age. The possibility of having a cardiac event because of HCM increases with physical activity. Rarely having any identifiable symptoms, HCM affects approximately 1 in 500 student athletes.
How long will the screening last?
The screening process including a measure of height and weight, a modified 12-lead ECG, and if necessary a limited 2-dimensional ECHO, takes about 20 minutes. NOTE: WAIT TIME MAY VARY
What should the student bring to the event?
What should the student wear to the screening?
Students should bring a signed AugustHeart consent waiver with them to the event OR be accompanied by a parent/guardian who can sign a consent waiver available at the venue. Download English Waiver
or Download Spanish Waiver
Students should wear comfortable clothing (gym attire is suggested, sports bras for girls).
Should the student be accompanied by a parent?
What does a normal screening evaluation mean?
To respect the privacy of each participant, no parent or guardian will be allowed in the screening area unless requested by a physician working with AugustHeart. Parents and guardians do not need to attend the screening as long as a signed consent waiver is presented. However, we invite and encourage parents to attend the event to receive the screening results. Download English Waiver
or Download Spanish Waiver
Screening “negative” (or having a normal heart screen) means the tests undergone have not shown one of the five most common heart conditions associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death. While no test can absolutely ensure that there is zero risk of sudden cardiac death, screening “negative” suggests the risk is very low.
What if an abnormal heart condition is found during the screening?
The volunteer cardiologist interpreting the test will recommend followup care if an abnormality is detected. AugustHeart will provide resources to guide the process to receive a full cardiac evaluation.
How often should a student be screened?
Our recommendation is for screening twice during adolescence.
Does the AugustHeart Screening test for murmurs?
A murmur is the sound of blood moving through the heart. It is often a normal finding, but can be associated with heart abnormalities. AugustHeart screenings detect cardiomyopathies and rhythm abnormalities of the heart. AugustHeart screenings do not confirm heart murmurs. We recommend an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist for a complete evaluation to confirm a suspected heart murmur.