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Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a serious genetic heart condition in which the heart muscle thickens. It affects 1 in 500 student athletes every year, often without any warning or symptoms, and it is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. While it is relatively easy to detect, it can be fatal if it is not diagnosed and treated.

Heart Hospital of Austin provides free heart screenings to young athletes twice a year—once in February and then again in August, when many school sports programs begin and practices intensify. During the screening, students between the ages of 14 and 18 receive an electrocardiogram (EKG) and a limited two-dimensional echocardiogram, or ultrasound of the heart, to detect HCM. Both the EKG and echocardiogram, which take about five minutes each, are noninvasive and painless. The results of the screening are reviewed by a cardiologist and are available immediately.

The latest heart-screening event took place on Saturday, Aug. 23. To date, more than 6,000 young athletes have been screened at Heart Hospital of Austin.

To register your child for the next student athlete heart screenings, scheduled for February 14, 2015, please call 512.478.3627.

To view footage from a previous heart-screening event, click here.

Please click here to view this video if you are a St. David’s HealthCare employee who is viewing this message on a St. David’s HealthCare desktop computer.

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