HIBERNIA, N.J., Aug. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the non-profit Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA), more than 250,000 people of all ages will die each year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic disease that causes the heart muscle to thicken for no apparent reason, is the leading cause of SCA in those under 40.
"Contrary to the popular perception that SCA is an athlete's problem, the fact is that 80% of children and young adults who die from SCA are not athletes," states Lisa Salberg, HCMA founder and CEO. "Parents need to ensure that their kids are examined for the risk of SCA at regular intervals – pre-school, before and during middle school, before and during high school and before college."
Back-to-School is traditionally the time kids see their doctors for routine examinations. Salberg believes it offers an ideal opportunity for an SCA screening. The free comprehensive risk assessment questionnaire offered by HCMA is a simple first step in determining if a child is considered to be at risk. If the questionnaire and subsequent pediatric examination indicate a need, a consult with a cardiologist and an electrocardiogram and/or an echocardiogram may be warranted.
For families with a known history of SCA, genetic testing is available. "Genetic testing is a powerful tool for helping to identify the cause of SCA for at-risk patients," says Ms. Salberg. "It can quite literally make a difference between life and death. Unfortunately, the first symptom of undiagnosed HCM is often a fatal SCA event."
As families everywhere prepare for the start of a new school year, now is the time to remind them about SCA screening. For more information visit www.4hcm.org. To access the free screening tool visit http://www.4hcm.org/hcm/472221-online-sudden-cardiac-arrest-in-the-young-risk-assessment-tool.html.
About the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA)
Founded in 1996 by Lisa Salberg, the HCMA is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization that provides comprehensive information about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic disease that causes a thickening of the heart muscle. The HCMA provides support and advocacy for HCM patients and their families and medical providers to help prevent untimely deaths and advance global understanding about this incurable disease. For more information visit www.4hcm.org or call 973-983-7429.
SOURCE Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA)