We crusade for comprehensive school physical examinations at a time in life when it becomes possible to detect previously unknown symptoms in order to prevent potential SCDs potential early deaths from heart failure. We endorse cardiac screenings to identify hidden heart defects in youth in order to prevent a sudden cardiac arrest.
Prevention is paramount when it comes to the health of a child. The responsibility for identifying a student’s health problems doesn’t fall on one person alone.
If parents suspect their student athlete may have a physical ailment, they should have a family doctor do as complete a medical examination as possible. Likewise, coaches and trainers should alert a parent when an athlete complains of any of these symptoms.
It is vitally important that any new or unusual symptoms be thoroughly investigated. Symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain and blackouts during exercise should not be ignored.
What the child’s doctor should know about his/her family history:
Make the child’s physician aware of a family history of:
sudden cardiac death in a relative who died before the age of 50
Tests that may detect Congential Heart Disease
Depending on the individual circumstances and symptoms, more testing can be done to detect life-threatening heart disorders such as:
The warning signs of a heart disorder include:
Shortness of Breath
Exercise capacity may be limited by breathlessness and fatigue.
Chest Pain with Exertion
Pain is usually brought on by exertion and relieved by rest. But pain can also occur at rest or during sleep.
An uncomfortable awareness of the heart beat. Palpitation may start suddenly, appear to be very fast and may be associated with sweating or light-headedness.
Light-Headedness and Blackouts
Persons with the condition may experience light-headedness, dizziness and more seriously, blackouts. Episodes may occur in association with exercise.
Fifteen year old Louis T. Savino, III died of a congenital heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM consists of a thickening of the heart muscle, which disrupts the main pumping chamber of the heart.
Congenital heart disease is the leading cause of non-traumatic sudden athletic death, with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
The Savino Foundation is committed to doing everything possible to prevent the tragedy of sudden death in youths. We recognize the importance of identifying young men and women who may be at risk for sudden cardiac death.
The standard pre-sports participation physical exam may not go far enough to identify the cardiovascular abnormalities and undetected heart conditions. An echocardiogram test can determine whether the student-athlete is at risk for a sudden cardiac event due to abnormalities or defects of the heart.
Cardiac screening programs are slowly making their way through schools and athletic organizations in the United States. This preventive testing is mandated in several other countries such as Italy and Japan resulting in a reduction of sudden death incidents.
The echocardiogram test can determine whether the student-athlete is at risk for a sudden cardiac event due to abnormalities or defects of the heart. The most common heart defect is Cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart). Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, the number one cause of sudden death in the young, can lead to obstruction of blood flow and an erratic heart beat. Undetected it can be fatal.
Intent of Cardiac Screening Programs
To identify young men and women who may be at risk for sudden cardiac death. The standard pre-sports participation physical exam may not go far enough to identify the cardiovascular abnormalities and undetected heart conditions.