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What age to test children?


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  • What age to test children?

    Well, since I first posted a couple of weeks ago I have found out that my niece has a heart murmer which her Cardiologist said would probably "go away" in a couple years! and my sister in law says she is having palpatations which she contributes to stress. She has also had an echo done and said everything was fine.

    I have a 2 1/2 year old and am due with my second baby in the beginnig of October. When do I get my children tested? And what is the best test? an MRI what does that intale? Will my little boy be able to handle that?

    I think about this everyday and am having a hard time being happy about this pregnancy. I worry so much about the what ifs. My husband is planning on seeing a specialist in Cleveland in October and I worry about him also. This all feels like a bad dream that I can not wake from.

    Anyway, I guess I just need to get some answers about my husband first but I would like to get my son tested if I need to.

    Thanks for listening.


  • #2
    Re: What age to test children?

    IF a murmur or any symptoms - they should be screened at any age - from birth up.
    More common however is age 12-20 every year and the screening must include a ECG, Echo and a check up with a cardiologist.

    If the child is younger and participating in competitive sports you should start screenings earlier.

    As adults screens should continue every 5 years.

    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)


    • #3
      Re: What age to test children?

      Murmurs don't usually go away.

      Echos are the test the kids need as it is an ultrasound of the heart that lets them see the walls and how thick they are.

      An MRI is not needed unless the echo is inconclusive--that is very rare. Someday when MRIs are cheap, we may skip the echo and go straight to MRIs but that is a long ways away.

      MRIs and Echos are painless, non-invasive (no needles) but an MRI is very expensive and take about an hour. You also have to wear hearing protection from the noise.

      get the kids screened.

      take care,



      • #4
        Re: What age to test children?

        Hi, If I were you I'de go ahead and get your child and your self screened.


        • #5
          Re: What age to test children?

          This month I had both my children ages 8 and 6 tested for HCM. Thankfully both do not have it so far. He did just an echocardiogram to test them.

          8 years ago, I asked a well know cardiologist at what age I should have my daughter tested and he said at age 7. He said that it would be more difficult to diagnose HCM at an age younger than 7 years old.

          Now recently, after talking with this new cardiologist, he said if there is a strong family history, the child can be tested at any age. He said he wanted to test my 8 year old again when she is 12 and my 6 year old when he is 10.

          I guess it depends on which cardiologist you talk to.

          I wish you the best.
          49 yrs. old
          Diagnosed at 31.
          Cardiac Arrest 2003, RF Ablation in AZ, no positive result -
          First ICD 2003 - In 2006 lead went bad, abandoned lead, threaded new one & new generator
          Myectomy 5-5-05 at The Cleveland Clinic - Dr. Lever & Dr. Smedira -heart surgeon.
          Currently have Grade 2 Diastolic Dysfunction with pulmonary hypertension & pulmonary edema.
          My brother passed away suddenly at 34 yrs old from HCM.
          2 teenage children, ages 17 and 15.


          • #6
            Re: What age to test children?

            Hi there -

            Since my son, Keanu, was born with heart problems, his siblings have an echo done every three years. Kyla (7) and Tanyr (6 last Saturday) just had their second echo done a couple of months ago. Gavin (who was born in February) has already had a second echo done (the first was done at a day old, by people who had no clue what they were looking for --- but that's another story) around the same time (he had to be sedated, of course, because he was about 5 months old). So far the three of them all appear to be okay for the time being. I will continue to have them echoed until I no longer have control over them and then I will just have to strongly encourage them to continue having the echos done.

            Anyway, there's my two bits.

            Mom of Keanu
            4 years old (will be in March)
            Dx at 2 days old with Biventricular hypertrophy
            Dx at 6 weeks with HOCM
            Dx at 5 months with V-tach
            Dx at 3 with Noonan Syndrome


            • #7
              Re: What age to test children?

              As far as I have known you can test for the hcm at any age, I do have a strong family history and my son was diagnosed at little under one month old and died due to sudden death at 6 years old. In the long run I wish I had the connection to others and the information that Lisa has made possiable, it helps me make better health choices for myself and my daughter. Thank God for miracles thts has been worked thru others.


              • #8
                Re: What age to test children?

                From age four on doctors have told me that I had an athletic heart and a murmur, but I would soon outgrow it. Well, now I’m seventy-two years old, - and still waiting to outgrow it. If you figure the time, it was 1936 when I was first told. I’m surprised to hear that some cardiologists are still pedaling that bicycle.

                Echocardiograms can be given to children at any age. It is a non-invasive, painless procedure and lets the tech “see” the heart and check its functioning. It takes years for a good tech to learn his or her craft, so try your best to get a good one. If abnormalities are uncovered, the echo can be accompanied by an ECG either at rest or under stress.

                All these procedures are non-invasive and painless, except of course a stress test involves walking or riding a bike and any discomfort that could arise from that. The test is aborted if and when it becomes painful – and is often looked at as fun for the younger set.

                How extensive the tests are, and how often they are performed is generally a function of what is found, and at what activity level the person usually functions. Lisa posted the general guidelines, but symptoms should call for more frequent and more extensive screenings then for people who are symptom free and have no, or only minor, abnormalities. And of course active participation in sports should also require closer monitoring. I hope this is of some help.


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