Did you know that sudden cardiac arrest is the number one cause of death among student athletes? When a young person unexpectedly collapses, it could be due to an undetected heart condition. Student heart screenings are an invaluable tool for identifying cardiovascular conditions, which affect one in every 300 children. Student heart screenings are performed at Grand Rapids Cardiology by our skilled cardiologist, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating, often due to an underlying cardiovascular condition that might have gone undetected. Sudden cardiac arrest differs from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to the heart is impeded due to a blockage in the arteries. Sudden cardiac arrest can occur even when blood is flowing freely through clear arteries.
Sudden cardiac arrest can be due to electrical or structural problems with the heart. If the problem is electrical, that means something is interfering with the heart’s natural rhythm. In such cases, the heart can beat too rapidly. When the problem is structural, the heart might not be able to function properly. Structural problems can be caused by an enlarged heart or a valve that is positioned in the wrong place.
Several warning signs can be an indication of a possible cardiac condition that could lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Anyone who displays some of the warning signs should undergo a student heart screening at our Grand Rapids cardiology office. Warning signs include:
- Chest pains
- Shortness of breath
- Unusually rapid heart rate
- Fainting during exercise
- Extreme fatigue
An additional warning sign of a possible heart condition is the unexplained death of a relative younger than 50 years of age. The relative might have had an undetected heart condition that resulted in sudden cardiac arrest.
A student heart screening could save your life. If the screening reveals a potential cardiovascular condition, our cardiologist can help you take steps to protect your heart health and prevent sudden cardiac arrest. To schedule a student heart screening with Dr. VanderLaan, call Grand Rapids Cardiology at (616) 717-5141.