Local teens who participate in school and community sports are now able
to be screened for potentially fatal genetic heart conditions as part
of a new program at St. John's Medical Center. The first heart screening
clinic is scheduled for Saturday, October 8, from 8 am to noon at the hospital.
Medical studies demonstrate the value of a heart screening at around age
15 for youth involved in athletics. "Our full-time cardiologist Dr.
Ellen Gallant participated in heart screening programs prior to joining
St. John's. When she approached us with her idea to bring screenings
for teen athletes to our community, it immediately felt like something
we wanted to do," said director of community relations Karen Connelly.
"We envision an annual screening clinic for teens entering high school,"
said Connelly. "We may hold additional clinics this year to catch
up with the demand, since it hasn't been offered here before."
At the clinics, high school athletes ages 14-18 are screened for genetic
conditions, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). "HCM usually
goes undetected," said Dr. Gallant. "It can be difficult to
pick up during a routine sports examination but very easily detected during
the painless tests offered during the clinic. Unless cardiac symptoms
or history are present (in which case your pediatrician can refer you
to a cardiologist for a full work up), a heart screening at around age
15 is all that is needed.
St. John's is modeling its program after the successful Championship
Hearts Foundation program, which has screened more than 20,000 students
since 2000. It is estimated that 1 in 250 students is at risk for potentially
fatal heart abnormalities. The St. John's heart screening includes
a 12-lead ECG and a limited two-dimensional echocardiogram (echo or ultrasound
of the heart) to detect HCM, the leading cause of sudden cardiac death
in young athletes. These tests are not included in standard pre-participation
sports physical examinations. Both the ECG and echo are noninvasive, painless
and can be quite expensive. Due to support from the St. John's Hospital
Foundation and Shirley’s Heart Run, St. John's is able to provide
this screening at no charge to families. St. John's is pleased to
have Teton County School District as a program participant.
If the screening indicates that additional testing is necessary, St. John's
Medical Center is working with Primary Children's Hospital in Salt
Lake City, UT, for follow up care. In addition to Dr. Gallant, the following
physicians have volunteered their time to help with the clinic: Jason
Su, MD, Primary Children's Hospital, Salt Lake City; William Barry,
MD, University of Utah, Salt Lake City;
and William Mullen, MD, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Palo Alto, CA.
To sign up for a screening, go to
teen heart screenings. Teens and adults interested in volunteering for the event may sign up
there as well.
Media contact: Karen Connelly, 307.739.7380,
ABOUT ST. JOHN’S MEDICAL CENTER
St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming, offers patient-centered
clinical excellence and community wellness services through a full-service
hospital, primary care, and specialty physician practices, and a long-term
care Living Center.
ABOUT ST. JOHN’S HOSPITAL FOUNDATION
The mission of the St. John’s Hospital Foundation is to secure philanthropic
support to advance the mission and strategic objectives of St. John’s
Medical Center, including patient-centered care, clinical excellence,
and community wellness. For more information, visit