Screenings Attempts to Prevent Cardiac Arrest in Teens

Screening takes 15 minutes

By Andres Gutierrez
|  Friday, May 11, 2012  |  Updated 7:15 PM CDT
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The Living for Zachary Foundation sponsored a mobile heart screening event Friday to look for heart abnormalities that lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

Andres Gutierrez, NBC 5 News

The Living for Zachary Foundation sponsored a mobile heart screening event Friday to look for heart abnormalities that lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

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A mobile unit is making its way around North Texas and the country screening for sudden cardiac arrest.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a condition in which an electrical disruption of the heart's natural rhythm makes the heart stops all together, resulting in death.

Living for Zachary is partnering up with others, such as Dallas-based National Teachers Associates Life Insurance Co., to provide mobile heart screenings around the country.

Karen Schrah founded the nonprofit Living for Zachary in memory of her son, Zachary, who collapsed and died during football practice in 2009.

"Prior to this episode, there was no warning signs," she said. "We had no indication that he had a heart condition or anything like that."

Since his death, Schrah has made it her mission to raise awareness of SCA.

"Had Zachary had this heart screening, he would still be here today," she said.

Sudden cardiac arrest occurs more often than people think and to those they may least suspect.

In the United States, more than 10,000 athletes and students between the ages of 12 and 22 are estimated to die of SCA each year.

The mobile heart screening lasts about 15 minutes.

It starts off with an electrocardiogram test that examines the heart's electrical activity. An ultrasound that looks inside of the heart is then conducted.

Seth Goodwin, 18, got a mobile screening after his mother signed him up for the test.

"It was cool to see my heart on the screen, to see it beat," he said.

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