$700 heart test offered at no cost to teenagers this weekend


AUSTIN (KXAN) — This weekend, you can have your teenager’s heart screened for deadly genetic conditions.

The Championship Hearts Foundation and Dell Children’s Medical Center are teaming up for heart screenings on Saturday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at Dell Children’s Medical Center.

The screening is open to all teenagers, not just athletes, from 14 to 18 years of age.

The free screenings valued at over $700 include a 12-lead ECG and a limited two-dimensional echocardiogram (ECHO, or picture of the heart).

“We look at the left ventrical and the thickness of the left ventrical, primarily to exclude a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which is the number one condition causing sudden death in athletes,” explains Dr. Arnold Fenrich, President of the Championship Hearts Foundation.

He says the heart tests at Saturday’s event are designed to detect HCM and are normally not included in standard pre-participation sports physical examinations.

“It’s really rewarding to be able to pick up something like that and prevent a potential catastrophic result, but I can tell you it’s also rewarding for us and these families to say to them your tests are normal, you don’t have any findings that would raise concern or worry,” Dr. Fenrich said.

The Foundation estimates one out of every 250 students is at risk for heart abnormalities that could potentially lead to sudden cardiac death.

Online pre-registration is required and is now open at Championship Hearts’ website or by phone at 512-900-3243 or 888-884-6945. Check-in will take place in the Marnie Paul Specialty Care Center lobby and free parking is available in the outpatient parking lot accessible via Philomena Street.

It’s free, but a tax-deductible $25 contribution is suggested to support the Foundation’s life-saving mission.

Championship Hearts says it has screened over 25,000 students since this program started in 2000, with approximately one out of every 20 students being referred for further cardiac testing.

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