621 kids screened for heart disease!


Desta and I had the pleasure of participating in a heart screening day at Sequoia High School in Redwood City last Sunday.

Volunteer briefing at the start of the day

Volunteers obtaining 12-lead ECG’s

The event was organized by Via Heart Project, a non-profit organization that equips California public schools with AED’s.   Via Heart recently decided to organize heart screenings, and they put a lot of effort and talent into this first event.

They were assisted by the folks at the EP Save-a-Life Foundation, who have been organizing heart screens in the San Diego area for several years and who provided some of the equipment we used, such as the cardiac ultrasound machines.  In total, 203 volunteers helped out, not including the Redwood City Fire Department.

On the cardiology side, Dr. Michael Griffin (pediatric cardiologist in private practice with a keen interest in heart disease prevention), Dr. Vic Froelicher (adult cardiologist at the Stanford Palo Alto VA hospital, and nationally recognized academic sports cardiologist), and myself were reviewing the medical histories, speaking with the teens, and analyzing the 12-lead ECGs.  Limited screening echocardiograms were performed on an as-needed basis.

The Via Heart Project team

The Via Heart Project team

The event was a great success.  A total of 621 teens were screened.  Conditions that can predispose to sudden cardiac arrest were discovered in 4 kids, who were then referred to their pediatrician for further evaluation.

This was an intense but very fun experience, made all the more enjoyable by the excellent organization and by the input from all the volunteers.  In addition to heart screens, education about basic CPR and how to operate an AED was provided to all the participants.