As Winter begins to wind down and the weather begins to warm that means more time outside playing sports and having fun. While we watch our children on the sports fields the thought of them getting injured is a common concern. I wanted to touch on a concern that is not as well known but is even more serious and can be fatal. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs when the electrical system of the heart unexpectedly stops functioning and results in the disruptions of the heart's normal function and its ability to deliver blood to the body. This happens to children, teens, young and old adults. It can occur without warning but may be preceded by palpitations, dizziness, chest pain or shortness of breath before the child or adult collapses and loses consciousness.
SCA is the #1 killer of student athletes and is the leading cause of death on school campuses. The good news is that this silent killer may be detected with a simple test- an electrocardiogram (ECG). This test is painless, quick and typically inexpensive and can even be free. Here are a few signs and symptoms that may signal a cardiac issue in your child:
- Family history of an unexpected sudden death during a physical activity
- Fainting (syncope) or seizure during or after physical activity
- Unexplained fainting or seizure
- Chest pain or discomfort/racing heartbeat
- Family history of heart disease
- Unusual shortness of breath
- Unusual fatigue/tiredness
If your child has displayed any of these signs, it is important to follow up immediately with their doctor and ask about an ECG for your child. For more information check out the website www.parentheartwatch.org.
At Montgomery we take the risk of a SCA seriously. We have many CPR trained individuals on our staff and in our faculty and we have three AED machines located throughout our campus. CPR and the use of an AED can save the life of someone experiencing SCA. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have.