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Life-saving health screening held in Muskegon

11:21 PM, May 26, 2011   |    comments
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Muskegon Heights high school student athletes participated in a free heart screening at Mercy Health Partners Hackley Campus.

MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- In a pilot program with Mercy Health Partners Hackley Hospital and Muskegon Heights High School, 60 high school athletes took part in a free heart exam Thursday evening to diagnose potential signs of sudden cardiac death.

Dr. Dan West, cardiologist at West Shore Cardiology said, "A lot of the motivation has been kicked into high gear by the traffic death of an athlete down in Fennville, Wes Leonard, who died during the basketball game. This has caused parents throughout the country and especially here in West Michigan a great deal of anxiety surrounding the potential for serious heart-related complications in their own children playing sports."

The screening included a review of medical history, vital sign monitoring, echocardiograms, a doctor's exam and an ectocardiogram.

"We're not doing a complete ectocardiogram tonight, we're just doing a quick look ectocardiogram, looking for specific conditions that increase the risk of sudden cardiac death in young athletes," said West.

The all-volunteer team did not diagnose cardiac disease, but shared their medical opinions with parents, allowing each family the option of what to do next.

Muskegon Heights Athletic Director Keith Guy homes to see the valuable process expand to other districts in the future.

"It's very important because you don't want anything to happen to kids, and you didn't know anything about it," he said. "We want to be as informed as possible, and making sure that we're preventing any tragedies."

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