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Area hospital brings free cardiac screening program to Ottawa High

Morris Hospital is set to conduct its Rhythm of Our Youth cardiac screening program for Ottawa High School students Wednesday, March 21, at the school during PE class or study hall.  

The purpose of the free screening is to identify area high school students who may be at risk for sudden cardiac death by identifying those who may have existing cardiac abnormalities.
The same screening was conducted at Marquette Academy last September and at Newark High School during the 2016-17 school year.
On the screening days, a team of specially-trained volunteers from Morris Hospital will provide electrocardiogram (ECG) screenings at the school to students who have received parental permission to participate. An electrocardiogram is a non-invasive, painless test that measures the electrical activity of the heart and detects certain heart abnormalities that can lead to sudden cardiac death. The test takes about three minutes to complete.
Based on results of the screenings, students could be referred to their physician for additional follow-up. Results are sent home to the student’s parents directly from Morris Hospital and are not shared with the school.
The program was made possible with funding provided by donors to the Morris Hospital Foundation. Since 2016, Morris Hospital has screened more than 4,300 students at 12 area schools. The hospital plans to bring the screening to each school in its service area every other school year. 
According to Jori Christensen, MSN, MBA, RN, Director of Cardiovascular Services at Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers, the EKG screening offered through Rhythm of Our Youth can offer clues to underlying heart problems.
“Sudden cardiac death claims more than 2,000 lives of children and adolescents in the United States each year,” Christensen said in a press statement. “Most victims of sudden cardiac death have had underlying heart conditions that could have been detected through a simple ECG. We’re very pleased to bring the Rhythm of Our Youth screening to Ottawa High School, so we can help identify students who may have an undiagnosed heart problem before a serious incident occurs.”
Parents can complete an electronic consent form online by going to morrishospital.org/rhythmofouryouth. Information is also available on the school website, ottawahigh.com.

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