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Press Release

Kaiser Permanente and Hawaii Heart Foundation Host Youth Screening

Program aims to prevent leading cause of death in young athletes

April 7, 2014



A young man being examined with a stethoscope by a physician in an exam roomBeau Fujii undergoes a heart screening performed by Kaiser Permanente Hawaii physician Peter Lum, MD.

HONOLULU – Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, in partnership with the Hawaii Heart Foundation, provided free cardiac screenings today at its Waipio Medical Office. The Hawaii Heart Youth Screening Program, designed to identify Hawaii youth at risk of sudden cardiac arrest, screened nearly 160 young people, ages 14-22.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in children and young adults, and is the principal cause of death in youth athletes during exercise. Every three days, one high school-aged athlete in the United States suffers sudden cardiac arrest. In an effort to prevent SCA in Hawaii’s youth, the program is designed to screen adolescents and young adults for cardiac diseases associated with a risk of SCA.

Two physicians sitting at a table chatting with a teen.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii physicians Becket Mahnke, MD, and Ben Chun, MD, consult with a teen at the Hawaii Heart Youth Screening Program event at the Waipio Medical Office.

The screening included a medical and family history review, physical exam and an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to analyze the “electrical system” of the heart. An echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart, was also performed if needed. In addition to heart screenings, HHF provided participants with training on the latest hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques and the use of automated external defibrillators.

“Early detection is very important. Most people don’t realize that cardiac arrest in the young tends to be associated with undiagnosed heart disease. Most are healthy and have never had recognized symptoms. A simple and brief screening can detect many of the problems associated with SCA,” said Chris Stefanelli, MD, Kaiser Permanente pediatric cardiologist and medical director of the screening program. “The ECG is key to the screening process and it only takes a few minutes.”

“We can take simple steps to prevent the tragedy of losing a child to sudden cardiac arrest,” said Pamela Foster, executive director at Hawaii Heart Foundation. “Providing CPR and AED training is so important because until we can screen every young person, we need to be ready when a friend or family member needs assistance. This priceless training helps protect our keiki and the entire community.”

Logo of the Hawaii Heart Youth Screening ProgramAbout the Hawaii Heart Foundation
Hawaii Heart Foundation (HHF) is a Hawaii non-profit organization established in 2010 with the mission to improve the cardiac arrest survival rates in Hawaii. HHF’s main focus is early installation of CPR skills and understanding in our keiki. From an early age, children will learn critical skills relating to the chain of survival and to help save a life, which will be reinforced as they progress through school. By the time they graduate, we hope to have created a generation of CPR/AED-savvy students who have the confidence and willingness to save a life. For more information, visit hawaiiheart.org.

Hawaii Heart Youth Screening program utilizes the nationally recognized “Seattle Criteria” for screening ECG interpretation guidelines.

About Kaiser Permanente Hawaii
Kaiser Permanente Hawaii has provided total health to the people of Hawaii for more than 50 years, with physicians who are members of the Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, the largest multi-specialty physician group practice in the state of Hawaii. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. Visit kp.org for additional information. Become a fan of good health with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii: Like our page at Facebook.com/KPHawaii and follow @KPHawaii on Twitter.