How Are Heart Anomalies Diagnosed in Youth?

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Heart anomalies, also referred to as congenital heart defects or congenital heart diseases, are conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart. They range from mild to severe and can involve the walls of the heart, valves, or blood vessels. While some heart anomalies are present at birth, others develop later in childhood or adolescence. At Health Services of North Texas, we understand the importance of diagnosing an anomaly as soon as possible.

What is a heart screening?

A heart screening is a noninvasive medical examination that detects any abnormalities or irregularities in the heart. It involves a physical exam, medical history review, and special tests like an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram. Results are interpreted by a pediatric cardiologist specializing in diagnosing and treating heart anomalies in children.

Why are heart screenings important for youth?

Heart screenings can identify potential issues that may not be detected during routine annual check-ups. These conditions can include holes in the heart, abnormal heart rhythms, or valve defects.

If left undiagnosed and untreated, heart anomalies can lead to serious health complications in youths. They may experience difficulty breathing, fatigue, poor growth and development, and even heart failure. In some cases, they require surgery or other interventions to correct.

What heart conditions can be detected through screenings?

At Health Services of North Texas, patients can learn information about the Living for Zachary heart screening. This program is for young people aged 12 – 22, and it is designed to test for specific heart abnormalities that lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

Patients in Denton, Plano, and Wylie, TX can be tested for the following:

  • Brugada syndrome: This inherited disorder increases your risk of abnormal heart rhythms. Many people with Brugada syndrome do not show any symptoms.
  • Coronary artery anomalies: If the coronary arteries are located in an abnormal position, they may become pinched or compressed during intense exercise.
  • Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy: This complex heart disease impacts the heart muscle and may lead to sudden cardiac death, especially in young athletes.
  • Long QT syndrome: A heart rhythm disorder that may trigger a fainting spell, seizure, or even death.

Can you tell me more about the Living for Zachary heart screening?

Living for Zachary is a non-profit organization named in memory of Zachary Schrah, who passed away from sudden cardiac arrest due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. At the time of his death, Zachary was a 16-year-old high school student and football player with no known heart conditions or known symptoms. In his honor, the foundation hopes to raise awareness and provide much-needed resources to families.

The Living for Zachary heart screening is offered at the Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Plano and Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital – Denton. The Health Services of North Texas partners with the foundation to provide this life-saving screening for local area children.

Book a heart screening for your child

Heart anomalies can be difficult to detect without proper screening. By booking a heart screening for your child, you can ensure their heart health and potentially prevent any life-threatening conditions from developing. Our team in Denton, Plano, or Wylie, TX is dedicated to providing quality care for children with a wide range of needs. Schedule an appointment at the Health Services of North Texas by clicking here today.