Written by Sharon Robb

March 27, 2013

Miami Children’s Hospital is reaching out to the region’s young athletes, including swimmers and divers, by offering free EKG screening to middle and high school sports participants.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of sudden death among young athletes according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Every three days in the U.S., a student-athlete dies of sudden cardiac arrest. Usually there are no advance signs or symptoms.

An electrocardiogram is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart. The test is painless and there are no risks. It measures any damage to the heart; how fast your heart is beating and whether it is beating normally; the effects of drugs or devices used to control the heart such as a pacemaker; and the size and position of the heart chambers.

“No child should die from a preventable cause,” said Dr. Anthony Rossi, director of the hospital’s Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. “It’s a simple test, it takes less than five minutes to do and this could end up saving a life.”

The screenings are available by appointment at five MCH locations including the hospital’s main campus near Coral Gables, as well as MCH outpatient centers in Doral, Palmetto Bay, West Kendall and Weston.

For additional information or to make an appointment, those interested can call 305-662-8301, Option 1, or toll free at 1-800-432-6837, ext. 8301, Option 1.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com