Championship Hearts’ free student heart screenings are open to all athletes, band members, spirit groups and students ages 14 – 18 in Texas. Our purpose is to prevent deaths from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, also known as HCM. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a serious heart condition that is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Rarely having any identifiable symptoms, HCM affects approximately 1 in 500 student athletes. Championship Hearts Foundation has conducted over 16,000 free student heart screenings since it’s beginning.
For each student, we collect height and weight measurements, test blood pressure, perform a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) and a limited echocardiogram (ECHO).
An ECG records the electrical signals of the heart, and is used to detect rhythm disorders.
The limited ECHO uses sound waves to capture images of the heart structure. These detailed pictures are helpful for detecting heart abnormalities of heart wall thickness, and congenital heart valve defects.
Heart Screenings During COVID-19: What to Expect
All attendees (including parents, volunteers, and staff) for heart screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic will be questioned about current health conditions and will have their temperature measured. Only those who pass the questionnaire and temperature check will be allowed inside the screening area. All attendees must wear a face mask/covering and will be asked to adhere to social distancing measures. Disposable face masks will be provided, if needed. Multiple hand sanitizing stations will be provided throughout the screening area.
The Traditional Heart Screening Process: What To Expect
Texas Adolescent Athlete Heart Screening Registry™
Championship Hearts Foundation offers free heart screenings for students (ages 14-18) in an effort to help prevent sudden cardiac death (SCD) from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) as a part of our commitment to serving the preventive health needs of our community. Many abnormalities of the heart can potentially cause SCD. HCM is probably the most common cause and may often be detected by echocardiogram (2-D echo) and/or electrocardiogram (EKG). Other significant heart abnormalities that may cause SCD may also be detected using 2-D echo and EKG. However, screening does not always detect an abnormality even when it is actually present and not all potentially fatal heart abnormalities can be detected by this screening.
Championship Hearts Foundation believes the results of these heart screenings should be monitored in a registry entitled Texas Adolescent Athlete Heart Screening Registry™ (TAAHSR™). All data collected for TAAHSR™ will be de-identified to reduce the risk of loss of confidentiality and will be included only with your permission. Data to be collected include: brief medical/family history; ethnicity; sex; sports of participation; height/weight; results of 2-D echo and EKG; and results of any potential follow up care.
Such data will possibly benefits others with abnormal heart conditions in the future. Initial analysis of early data collected by Championship Hearts has resulted in the following scientific journal publications. Click below for links to the original abstracts.
Browse Our Scientific Publications
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs)
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have saved countless lives. Basically, the way an automated external defibrillator works is that during cardiac arrest it evaluates a person’s heartbeat and, if needed, shocks the heart to reestablish a normal heartbeat. Cardiac arrest typically happens when the heartbeat is abnormal or too fast, thus keeping the heart from working the way it’s supposed to, and with each moment that this is happening comes the possibility of permanent brain damage or even death.
Some people keep automated external defibrillators on hand at home, and it’s also common to see them in public places like schools and malls. Though many first aid and CPR courses include learning to use automated external defibrillators, the device is made to operate simply so that most anyone can use it to save another person’s life. Of course, if you ever use an automated external defibrillator, it’s recommended to first call 911 so that paramedics will arrive as quickly as possible.
Be Prepared to Use Automated External Defibrillators
It’s a good idea to be prepared to use automated external defibrillators, especially if you live with someone who is at risk for cardiac arrest or has a history of heart problems. Though automated external defibrillators have instructions, reading and following them on-the-spot doesn’t compare to having prior training and experience. Check in your local newspaper for CPR, First Aid, and automated external defibrillator training classes. Even if you do not live with someone who is at risk of having a heart attack, you never know when the valuable knowledge of how to use automated external defibrillators may save a life.
Championship Hearts’ education and awareness campaign shows Texans that AEDs are safe, easy to use, and save lives. So many people are afraid to use automated external defibrillators, but Championship Hearts aims to encourage people to use them by witnessing AED demonstrations in their community or trying it themselves at a training course or at a community gathering.
BRING A SCREENING TO YOUR COMMUNITY
We are happy to partner with you in bringing a Young Athlete Heart Screening to your community! Please call us or submit the inquiry form below. Thank you!
How long will screening last?
Depending on how many people participate in the screening event, the average time takes about 45 minutes for registration, vitals measurements, an ECG and ECHO, along with checkout. The screening process including height, weight, and blood pressure measures, as well as an ECG and ECHO, takes around 20 minutes. NOTE: AVERAGE WAIT TIME VARIES.
What do I need to bring to the event?
Students will need to bring signed consent forms with them to the event OR be accompanied by a parent/guardian who can sign a consent form available at the venue. Students should wear comfortable clothing (gym attire is suggested).
Will I need to accompany my child to the screening?
No, you will not need to accompany your child to the screening as long as they have signed consent forms at the time of the screening. We recommend coming with your child to the event when possible to ensure that the results are received.
Why screen 14-18 year-olds for HCM?
Risk of developing Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) increases with age. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is a serious heart condition that is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. Rarely having any identifiable symptoms, HCM affects approximately 1 in 500 student athletes. The possibility of having a cardiac event because of HCM increases with physical activity. Ages 14 to 18 are screened because the heart is closer to maturity and competitive sports participation and/or physical activity may be increased during high school.
What is an echocardiogram (ECHO)?
The echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) is an extremely useful test for studying the heart’s anatomy. It is non-invasive and entirely safe. Your child will lie on an exam table and a sonographer (echo technician) will move a transducer (a device that looks like a computer mouse) against your child’s chest. The technician will apply a gel to your child’s chest to aid in moving the transducer.
How does ECHO work?
The transducer sends sound waves toward the heart and sound waves bounce off the heart, and are collected by the transducer. These returning sound waves are processed by a computer, assembled into a two-dimensional image of the heart, and displayed on a TV screen.
What is 'limited' ECHO
The ‘limited’ ECHO (4-5 images in black/white) is a cost-effective and time efficient way to provide heart screenings because a full comprehensive ECHO can be expensive and coverage from insurance is not often provided. The ‘limited’ ECHO focuses on specific areas of the heart and takes about 3 to 5 minutes to scan for defects.
Why use both an elcectocardiogram (ECG) and 'limited' ECHO tests?
An ECG records the electrical activity of the heart. It is used to detect rhythm disorders such as Long QT Syndrome or Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome. The ‘limited’ ECHO captures images of the heart structure. These detailed images are very helpful for detecting abnormalities of heart wall thickness such as HCM – the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes. ‘Limited’ ECHO images can also reveal congenital heart valve defects such as Bicuspid Aortic Valve, where the aortic heart valve has only two leaflets instead of three.
What is TAAHSR?
The Texas Adolescent Athlete Heart Screening Registry (TAAHSR™) is a multi-year research project created by the Championship Hearts Foundation in 2010 to establish a database of adolescent heart measurements. This information is intended to aid adolescent cardiology research and diagnosis in the future. All information is saved only with the consent of students/parents and all names are removed from the database to maintain privacy.
Can a routine physical detect HCM and other cardiac abnormalities?
No. HCM and most cardiac abnormalities cannot be detected with a routine sports physical.
Does UIL require heart testing on all athletes?
No. Current guidelines from the UIL (University Interscholastic League) require high school students engaging in athletics to complete a cardiac questionnaire, undergo a physical examination by a family physician, pediatrician or chiropractor, and sign a Sudden Cardiac Awareness Form.
My child has a murmur, should I have their heart screened?
A murmur is the sound of blood moving through the heart. It is often a normal finding, but can be associated with heart abnormalities. Championship Hearts Foundation screenings are for detecting cardiomyopathies and other rhythm abnormalities. We would be happy to screen your child for these conditions, but recommend that if you have been told your child has a murmur to see a pediatric cardiologist for a complete evaluation and to rule out other conditions that are associated with a murmur.
My son was screened at age 15, does he need to be re-screened?
Unless cardiac symptoms are present, a screening at age 15 or later is usually all that is needed.
How often do you see students with an abnormality?
Our screenings have confirmed that 1 in 250 students is at risk for sudden cardiac death related issues.
What if my child has an abnormal screening result?
If an abnormality is found in your child, the volunteer cardiologist that interpreted the tests will recommend a full evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist. Championship Hearts will provide you with materials to guide you through the process to receive a full evaluation. The Foundation will also assist in contacting a pediatric cardiologist to help you through follow-up.
How do you get HCM?
HCM can be inherited, caused by an abnormal gene that codes for the heart muscle. HCM can affect each individual differently, and many people never display or develop symptoms. Healthy individuals can possess the abnormality. It can also be acquired as a result of high blood pressure or aging.
How many people have HCM?
HCM is relatively rare in the general population. Approximately 1 in 500 people possess the abnormality, but only 1 in 200,000 will have a life threatening event because of the disease. Since these event are very rare, media attention is often not focused on the disease. HCM is usually talked about after an event of sudden cardiac arrest or death in young athletes.
Want a screening in your community?
Our large-scale heart screening events can be setup in high school gyms and cafeterias, small medical clinics and hospitals. Booster clubs, local businesses, and hospitals help provide our screenings free to a community. To find out more info, click here and fill out the inquiry form. Also visit Screen Across America to see if a screening entity in your area can help!