At a glance
* Heart Screens for Teens is set for 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Gannon Building at Pinecrest Academy. To schedule an appointment, contact Cheryl Farkas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (770) 826-9478.
* For more information about the Heart Screens for Teens program, call Ultrascan Inc. at (770) 813-8323 or go online at www.heartscreensforteens.com.
Cheryl Farkas’ son Matt was diagnosed with heart disease at age 16 even though he was a student athlete.
His condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is the leading cause of death among young athletes. It can occur with no symptoms or warning signs.
Now, the mother of the Pinecrest Academy senior helps other families through Heart Screens for Teens, a semiannual screening program at the south Forsyth private school.
“This is a great thing for our county,” Farkas said. “Any child who plays sports should get this done.”
On Saturday, the school will hold another screening event in conjunction with Ultrascan Inc.
For $65, families can have their students age 11 to 18 screened for HCM and other heart conditions. The screenings are open to any student athlete, but appointments are required.
The procedure, which uses an ultrasound unit and high frequency sound waves to create images of the heart, can cost more than $900 in a standard physician office setting.
“I don’t know if people realize, but at $65 this is such a great deal,” Farkas said. “I’ve heard people say they’ve paid as much as $2,000 for this test.”
Confidential results of the test, which is conducted by a registered technician, are analyzed by a board-certified pediatric cardiologist and given to parents.
Any child found to have abnormal test results is referred to the family’s doctor for medical follow-up.
Farkas said the two previous screening events at the school have drawn as many as 60 students each time, and a few problems have been identified.
“Since we’ve been doing this, we have had several students who got call backs afterward,” Farkas said. “So that’s several students who lives were maybe saved by this event.”