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Young Athletes to be Screened for Risk of Sudden Heart Death - 07/25/2012

Young Athletes to be Screened for Risk of Sudden Heart Death

Release Date: July 25, 2012


Johns Hopkins heart specialists will screen young athletes for heart problems that can cause sudden death. The screenings will take place at the National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Saturday, July 28, 2012, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Best time for coverage—9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

Morgan State University
Student Center meeting rooms, 2nd floor
Baltimore, Maryland

While athletes from around the world will be competing in the London Olympics this Saturday, about 6,000 track and field athletes will be competing at Morgan State University in Baltimore in the National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships. Johns Hopkins experts in cardiology and cardiac imaging will provide free screening for the athletes and others at the event to assess their risk for heart conditions that can put them at risk of sudden death. The screening will be offered to the athletes and spectators between ages 14 and 18.

“In particular, we will be looking for signs of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, an inherited condition that is the number-one cause of sudden death among young people under age 30,” says Dr. Theodore Abraham, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine who runs one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive HCM evaluation and treatment programs.

 “When I hear a news report about an athlete who has died from sudden cardiac death, it’s both sad and frustrating to me because I know that such a tragedy can be prevented through screenings like those we are conducting at Morgan State,” says Dr. Abraham.

The screening event is called Heart Hype. Those screened will have several non-invasive tests: an electrocardiogram that measures the electrical activity of the heart, an echocardiogram that is an ultrasound test to assess the heart’s function and structure, a blood pressure check and measurements for height and weight.

HCM causes thickening of the heart muscle and can disrupt blood flow from the heart or cause heart rhythm abnormalities. “Proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial because everyone with HCM is at some risk of sudden death,” says Dr. Abraham, whose work is part of the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute.

Advance registration is requested for the screening. Free CPR community certification classes also will be held at the event. For more information and to sign up for the screening or the CPR classes:

Johns Hopkins physicians and nurses also will join other health professionals from around the region for the full week of the track and field championships at Morgan State, July 23 to 29, to provide medical care for athletes and spectators.

For the Media

Media Contact:Ellen Beth Levitt; [email protected]
410-955-5307 or 410-598-4711 (cell)