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Protect Your Kids' Hearts: Summer Activity Can Trigger Genetic Disorder, Say Results for Life, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association
Date:5/21/2009

WASHINGTON, May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Before your kids are out the schoolroom door and off to the pool or baseball field this summer, take a few preventive steps to help protect their hearts.

Prevention may be as simple as making sure children eat nutritious meals, exercise, stay away from cigarettes and have check-ups.

Be aware that for some children who have an inherited heart disorder known as Long QT Syndrome, research shows that typical summer activities can trigger sudden cardiac arrest. Genetic tests can identify Long QT Syndrome and help physicians manage the condition.

The most common form of Long QT is triggered by strenuous exercise, especially swimming.

The condition often causes the tragic deaths of seemingly healthy young athletes who collapse on the playing field. More than 3,500 children and young adults die each year due to sudden cardiac arrest.

Fortunately, most deaths can be prevented if Long QT Syndrome is identified early -- often through a genetic test -- and treated. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association and the American Clinical Laboratory Association's Results for Life Educational Campaign offer the following tips.

Test for Long QT Syndrome if your child has:

  • A family history of Long QT Syndrome or sudden, unexplained death of a family member before age 40. If one person in your family is identified with Long QT Syndrome, your entire family should be tested.
  • Fainting episodes during or just after physical activity.
  • Fainting as a result of excitement, distress or a sudden startle.
  • Consistent or unusual chest pain and/or shortness of breath during exercise.

A physician will test for Long QT Syndrome by doing an electrocardiogram (ECG), often followed by a genetic test.


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SOURCE American Clinical Laboratory Association
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