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Cardiac Screenings set for Saturday - March 12th, Tucson, AZ

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  • Cardiac Screenings set for Saturday - March 12th, Tucson, AZ

    Cardiac screenings set for Saturday

    Free echocardiograms will be offered at Tucson High Magnet School to those ages 14 to 40.

    ANNE T. DENOGEAN
    Tucson Citizen

    A Phoenix woman hopes to help Tucsonans avoid the tragedy of a family member suddenly lost to the undiagnosed heart condition that killed her son five years ago and University of Arizona football recruit McCollins Umeh in June.

    Sharon Bates and the Anthony Bates Foundation will offer free echocardiograms Saturday at Tucson High Magnet School.

    An echocardiogram, a test that uses sound waves to create moving pictures of the heart, is the best way to diagnose hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young people. The test costs about $1,600 and is not part of school physicals or routine physicals required for young athletes.

    Autopsies identified hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Umeh and in Anthony Bates, a Kansas State University football player originally from Phoenix. The condition took the lives of basketball stars Reggie Lewis and Hank Gathers and Russian pairs skater Sergei Grinkov.

    "If we diagnose our kids earlier ... they can live with medications and managed care for a long, productive life," Bates said.

    She is spearheading an effort to educate Arizonans on the disease. She wants people to be aware of the symptoms, which can include fatigue, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath.

    She is advocating for automatic external defibrillators in all schools and for passage of a national bill under consideration in Congress that would provide $20 million in 2006 to screen children for the condition and other life-threatening heart abnormalities.

    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is responsible for an estimated 1,800 to 2,500 sudden cardiac deaths each year in the United States, according to the Bates Foundation.

    It is usually caused by a genetic defect that causes thickening of heart muscle cells. The walls of the ventricles thicken and become stiff, impeding blood flow and affecting heart rate and rhythm. Sometimes, cardiac arrest is the first symptom.

    The condition affects people of all ages, but young athletes are most likely to die from it because of added physical stress on the heart during exercise.

    This weekend's screening will be open to people ages 14 to 40. The condition often goes undiagnosed until people are in their late 30s, Bates said.

    Two doctors and several technicians are volunteering their time for the screening using donated machines.

    Bates said this is the foundation's 12th screening and 1,700 people have been tested.

    IF YOU GO

    What: Free cardiac screening

    When: noon to 5 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Tucson High Magnet School gymnasium, 420 N. Second Ave.

    Who: Anyone age 14 to 40

  • #2
    Sharon,

    Awesome work!!! Please get in touch with me as I would like to organize a screening in Philly and I don't know where to start. Thanks so much.

    Hugs, Terry
    [email protected]

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