A simple and inexpensive medical test could save your child’s life. Yes, your child. If you are reading this post, I am talking about your child. Your child, who did great on the APGAR test at birth and has been perfectly healthy ever since. A simple and inexpensive test could save your child’s life, you just don’t know about it yet.
Why don’t you know about this test that could potentially save your child’s life? Well, for one reason or another, that test has been deemed unnecessary.
Simon’s Fund is trying to change that.
The test I am referring to is an inexpensive, non-invasive test called an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). At birth our babies receive multiple screenings and tests, but they do not receive an electrocardiogram, simple heart screenings that could save thousands of otherwise healthy children from dying of sudden cardiac arrest every year. In fact, up to 85% of the conditions that lead to deaths from sudden cardiac arrest are both detectable and preventable.
Simon Sudman was a perfectly healthy baby boy, yet he died at just three months old. His parents put him down for a nap and he never woke up. Simon’s death was attributed to SIDS, yet further investigation revealed the cause of death to be a heart arrhythmia called Long QT Syndrome. According to the Mayo Clinic, sudden cardiac arrest from Long QT Syndrome is the cause of up to 30% of all cases of sudden infant death. Thousands more child die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, yet their deaths are incorrectly attributed to other factors, such as automobile accidents, drowning or even dehydration.
Sudden cardiac arrest does not just affect newborns. Sixteen children die each day from heart conditions that cause sudden cardiac arrest. Due to their activity level, student athletes are most at risk. Each year we hear the unfortunate news of a high school or college athlete who died suddenly during a practice or game. Those deaths are often attributed to extreme heat or other factors when they area largely due to sudden cardiac arrest from heart conditions such as Long QT Syndrome.
In the majority of cases, it strikes without warning. The symptoms, such as fainting, dizziness and racing heartbeat, are regularly misinterpreted as dehydration or exhaustion. Rather than getting the urgent medical care they need, children are sent back to class or out onto the playing field.
Simon Sudman’s parents vowed to dedicate the time they would have given their son to making sure that other children wouldn’t die needlessly from these detectable, treatable heart conditions like Long QT Syndrome. Together they founded Simon’s Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education, advocacy and innovation to protect children from sudden cardiac arrest and death. Simon’s Fund is supporting two research studies through Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital that are intended to show the prevalence of undetected heart conditions in children that lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death, and the efficiency and lifesaving value of heart screenings for kids. Among many other initiatives, Simon’s Fund also offers free heart screenings to area children.
Thanks to Simon’s Fund, my kids received their free heart screenings last week. I signed up through the website at www.SimonsFund.org. To give you an idea of how simple this test is to complete, my kids’ appointments were set for 4:00 and they were done by 4:15. Luckily my children’s hearts were fine, though the organization has found that roughly one in every one hundred children screened has a heart condition. To date Simon’s Fund has saved the lives 35 children and counting.
Too many children are no longer here simply because their hearts were never checked. If you suspect at all that your child may have a heart condition, contact your doctor immediately. For more information, go to www.SimonsFund.org.
Again, many thanks to Simon’s Fund and the doctors from Nemours Cardiac Center for giving me the peace of mind regarding my own children’s hearts. I was thrilled that we could get my children the free heart screening that would show if they had any heart conditions such as Long QT Syndrome. It should be noted that my family received absolutely no special treatment (or compensation in any form) from Simon’s Fund for writing this blog post. I signed up on their website using my personal email address and made no mention whatsoever of being a writer or writing a blog post about this experience.