To register for an appointment during Saturday’s Heart Screens for Teens event at Pinecrest Academy, call Cheryl Farkas at (770) 826-9478. To learn more, visit www.heartscreensforteens.com.
At age 16, Matt Farkas learned he had heart disease, despite being a student athlete since the second grade.
Farkas was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, during a routine physical last fall.
The leading cause of death among young athletes, the condition can occur without symptoms or warning.
“It’s estimated that one in 500 people has this condition,” said Cheryl Farkas, his mother. “But if you’re not exercising or doing anything strenuous, you can go on without knowing you have it.”
Pinecrest Academy, where Matt Farkas is a senior, hopes to prevent such problems during a special screening event from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
The school will welcome Ultrascan Inc. during a Heart Screens for Teens event.
During that time, any student athlete age 11 and older can receive an echocardiogram for just $65.
The test, which uses high frequency sound waves to create images of the heart and how blood flows, typically costs between $900 and $1,500.
“I absolutely encourage any athlete 11 or older to get screened,” Cheryl Farkas said. “This has become a passion for me.”
She explained that screenings are so important because HCM has few, if any, symptoms.
“The only symptoms are chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness and death,” she said. “What’s so sad is often a child won’t have any symptoms until death.”
Confidential test results from Saturday’s screenings will be analyzed by a board-certified pediatric cardiologist and given to parents.
Any child found to have an abnormal test result will be referred to the family’s pediatrician for medical follow-up.