Volunteers needed for Advocate for Young Hearts program, designed to reduce risk of sudden cardiac death in teens
In an effort to help prevent sudden cardiac deaths in our area’s adolescents, Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, through a gift from the Advocate Charitable Foundation, is bringing Advocate for Young Hearts, a free cardiac screening program for high school students, to Eureka High School in Eureka on Friday, April 12.
“The screening consists of an electrocardiogram, or EKG, and may also include a limited echocardiogram to identify students at risk for sudden cardiac death,” says James McCriskin, DO, a cardiologist with Advocate Medical Group – Illinois Heart and Lung. “An EKG can detect certain serious heart conditions by recording the electrical activity of the heart. Many children or young adults who experience sudden cardiac arrest have an undiagnosed hereditary defect that triggers an irregular heart rhythm, causing the cardiac arrest. These conditions can often be diagnosed using an EKG and medical evaluation.”
Advocate BroMenn and the high school are looking for community volunteers who would be willing to help out at the screening. “Volunteers are one of the keys to the success of the Advocate for Young Hearts program,” says Christie Rocke, RN, BSN, one of the program’s coordinators. “It’s not necessary for volunteers to have a medical background. We provide training for the volunteers to ensure their comfort with conducting a quality EKG screening for the students.”
Completely painless, an EKG is obtained by attaching electrodes with slightly sticky backing to the skin of the chest, arms, and legs. The wires from the EKG machine are then connected to each of the electrodes. The teen lies quietly for several minutes while the EKG is captured.
Rocke said volunteers assist at each screening with tasks such as:
- waiting room assistance
- electrode placement
- lead placement
- data entry
- quality review
Each week in the United States, sudden cardiac death claims the lives of more than 30 young adults. An EKG is able to detect approximately 60% of the abnormalities from these heart conditions that a stethoscope cannot.
Individuals who wish to find out more about volunteering for the event may contact volunteer coordinator Karie Rieke at 309.467.5731. For more information about the Advocate for Young Hearts program, contact Rocke at 309.268.2437, Karen King, RN, BSN, at 309.268.5152, or visit www.advocatehealth.com/bromenn/afyh . Parents can sign up their Eureka High School student for the screening at www.advocatehealth.com/afyhreg.
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