Morris Hospital will be taking its free Rhythm of Our Youth cardiac screening to area high schools this school year, including Dwight High School on Wednesday, Sept. 11, Wilmington High School on Wednesday, Sept. 25, and Reed-Custer High School on Tuesday Oct. 29.
The purpose of the screening is to prevent sudden cardiac death in high school students by identifying those who may have undiagnosed existing cardiac abnormalities.
Since 2016, the screening has been conducted at each high school in the Morris Hospital service area every other year as the result of funding provided by generous donors to the Morris Hospital Foundation. Students at Gardner South Wilmington, Coal City, Morris, Newark, Seneca and Minooka high schools were screened during the 2018-19 school year.
On the screening day, a team of specially trained volunteers from Morris Hospital perform electrocardiogram (ECG) screenings free of charge to students who have received parental permission to participate. An electrocardiogram is a non-invasive, painless test that measures the electrical activity of the heart and detects certain heart abnormalities that can lead to sudden cardiac death.
Screenings are held during PE class or study hall. The test takes about three minutes to complete.
Based on results of the screenings, about 3% of students are referred to their physician for additional follow-up. Typically, less than 1% are found to have a medical problem that requires cardiac intervention. Results are sent home to the student’s parents and are not shared with the school.
Sudden cardiac death claims more than 2,000 lives of children and adolescents in the United States each year. Most victims of sudden cardiac death have had underlying heart conditions that could have been detected through a simple ECG. The goal of Morris Hospital’s Rhythm of Our Youth screening is to help identify students who may have an undiagnosed heart problem before a serious incident occurs.
Parents should complete an electronic consent form prior to the screening day by going to www.morrishospital.org/rhythmofouryouth.