Keeping Our Kids Heart Healthy

by Kirby Gibbs

Lufkin, TX (KTRE) - Studies have shown from the years 2000 to 2006 there has been 300 deaths, and more than a hundred suspected deaths of school-aged children, dying while participating in an organized sport. One Northern association is here in Lufkin working with Woodland Heights Hospital, local EMTs and firefighters to prevent anymore of these sudden deaths among Lufkin students.

They came all the way down from Boston to make sure Lufkin student's hearts are in the right place.Bob Murphy, the Team Leader of Heart Screen America says that they are looking for cardiac arithmias that could lead to sudden cardiac arrests. Heart Screen America is an organization on a mission to combat sudden cardiac arrests by giving heart screenings to people ages 6 to 25. And they've made a stop to Lufkin Middle School.

Principal, Vickie Evans of Lufkin M.S. says, "Often heartrythmia is noticed with athletics, so in 6th grade, it's before they start athletics so its a perfect time to screen this before they begin these extraneous activities".

Texas schools have seen a great number of students deaths due to sudden heartfailures.According to Heart Screen America about 14,000 kids a year die from sudden cardiac arrest and they can catch them before they die by an ECG that can identify 70 percent of that 14,000.

Mrs. Evans says she's proud of the success of the program. Of the 600 6th graders, 519 students have undergone screening. She says their goal is to make sure that they provide every opportunity for the the students to be proactive in their healthcare.

All the students screened so far are looking healthy, but maintaining a healthy heart doesn't stop at getting screened. But of course, good diet and exercise is the best thing for your heart.

Test results for the students will be reviewed by the Board of Cardiologists of Heart Screen America. They will then provide a report that will be mailed to the families. Heart screenings will last at Lufkin Middle School, at no cost to parents or the school until Friday.