Lakeshore News Tonight

Hospital Shines Light On Sudden Cardiac Death

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October 14, 2013  — It has been a little more than two weeks following the tragic loss of 17-year-old Jake West, the La Porte High School Junior who collapsed during football practice and died of a congenital heart problem.

Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital is stepping up to the plate to ensure that West, who’s death highlights the issue of Sudden Cardiac Death, did not die in vain.

So, the hospital is offering free heart screening, which are also being done in recognition of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month.

“They have to be at least 15 years of age, not be being seen by a cardiologist at the moment and a student athlete,” said Doug Hynek, Clinical Team Leader in Cardiology at the hospital.

Students must have a signed parent consent form to take part in one of the five screenings.  He said there is a big difference between the typical student athlete physical exam and the 15 to 20 minute heart screening.

He said, “With the actual physical that they would get, the doctor is just listening with the stethoscope for heart murmurs and stuff like that.  Here, we’re actually looking at the function of heart.”

Cardiology Care Physician Rishi Sukhija explained how youth occasionally are not diagnosed with sudden cardiac arrest until they die.

“Typically when people are involved in contact sports and competitive sports, it can happen at any age,” said Dr. Sukhija.

He said the exam shows doctors the heart based on a series of tests and “We are going to incorporate an EKG or an electrocardiogram and an ultrasound of the heart or an echocardiogram into the screening.  This is being done to increase the sensitivity of detecting hidden cardiac conditions in young people.”

Screenings will start at IU Health La Porte Hospital this Thursday from 3pm to 8pm and will be offered for free.  Screenings will take place from 4pm to 8pm on the following dates:

Tuesday, Oct. 22, Thursday, Oct. 24, Tuesday, Oct. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 2 from 8am to noon.  Appointment can be scheduled by calling the hospital at 219-326-2626.

By: Renetta DuBose


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