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Keeping Kids Cardiac Health in Check

<br> <P>The test researchers want to make a part of your child's routine checkup.<br></P>

THOUSANDS OF SEEMINGLY HEALTHY AMERICAN KIDS AND TEENS DIE EVERY YEAR FROM SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST.
DETERMINING IF YOUR CHILD IS AT RISK CAN BE DIFFICULT, BUT NOW A GROUP OF RESEARCHERS BELIEVE A ROUTINE TEST THAT CHECKS FOR PROBLEMS IN ADULTS' HEARTS COULD BE USED TO SAVE KIDS' LIVES.
ELEVEN-YEAR OLD LENA FELIX IS IN CONSTANT MOTION.  IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE THAT FOR HALF HER LIFE, SHE LIVED WITH A POTENTIALLY DEADLY HEART DEFECT CALLED ATRIAL SEPTAL DEFECT-OR A-S-D.  "Basically a hole in your heart and it was quite a large hole." )
LENA NEVER SHOWED ANY SYMPTOMS OF HEART TROUBLE.
DOCTORS DISCOVERED THE DEFECT BY CHANCE. MICHELLE BORELLI HAD HEARD ABOUT A CHILDREN'S HEART HEALTH STUDY, AND ENROLLED HER KIDS ON A WHIM. PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGIST DOCTOR VICTORIA VETTER IS STUDYING HOW MEASURING THE ELECTRICAL ACTIVITY OF THE HEART WITH AN E-C-G COULD SAVE KIDS' LIVES.
"These children may have the cardiac arrest as their very first symptom.  So by identifying them early and providing treatment and care, we can often prevent the cardiac arrest from occurring."
IN THE HEART HEALTH SCREENING STUDY OF 25-HUNDRED SCHOOL-AGED STUDENTS, RESEARCHERS FOUND UNDETECTED ABNORMALITIES IN FIVE PERCENT OF KIDS.
 LENA WAS AMONG THE ONE-PERCENT WHO HAD A LIFE-THREATENING CONDITION. BUT THE E-C-G ISN'T FOOLPROOF. CRITICS SAY FALSE POSITIVES COULD LEAD TO MORE EXPENSIVE TESTS AND HIGH ANXIETY FOR PARENTS.
STILL LENA'S MOTHER BELIEVES IT'S WORTH IT. LENA HAD SURGERY TO FIX HER HEART DEFECT BEFORE IT BECAME LIFE-THREATENING.
"My daughter is proof that this is something that should be mandated."
DOCTOR VETTER SAYS RESEARCH SHOWS THE E-C-G IS THREE TIMES AS EFFECTIVE IN PICKING UP ABNORMALITIES AS A PERSONAL HISTORY AND TRADITIONAL PHYSICAL EXAM.
SHE SAYS IMPROVEMENTS IN ECG STANDARDS WILL LOWER FALSE POSITIVES, REDUCING THE NUMBER OF TESTS NEEDED.
VETTER SAYS SHE WOULD EVENTUALLY LIKE TO SEE E-C-G WIDELY AVAILABLE AT PEDIATRICIAN'S OFFICES.
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