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October 24, 2023 — As children and teenagers gear up for fall sports, Lee Health wants to remind the Southwest Florida community that pediatric electrocardiograms (EKG) are an easy and painless test to measure the electrical activity of children’s and teenager’s hearts.

An EKG records the electrical signal from the heart to check for different heart conditions, listens to the rhythm of the heartbeat, the size of the chambers of the heart and the amount of blood going to the heart muscle itself.

“All children and teenagers benefit from getting an EKG that helps identify any potential problem that warrants a follow-up with a cardiac specialist,” said pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Eric Eason. “Preventive medicine and peace of mind can help save lives and enable our children and loved ones to live full and happy lives.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, one in 250 to one in 59 children and teenagers were living with a congenital heart defect in certain areas of the United States.

A couple of years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for all children to be screened for conditions that can lead to cardiac arrest or death, regardless of their athletic status and particularly as they enter middle school or junior high school.

Ongoing specialty care helps people with heart defects live as normal and fulfilling a life as possible, especially when detects are found and established early.

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida offers free EKG testing to middle and high school-aged athletes. The free EKGs are available without an appointment. More information can be found by visiting https://www.leehealth.org/our-services/pediatric-cardiology/youth-heart-screening.

Marcella McIntyre took advantage of the free EKG when she brought her 17-year-old daughter in for a test.

“My daughter had headaches and I brought her in for the free pediatric EKG. She plays soccer and I wanted to rule everything out and make sure she doesn’t have anything to be concerned about when it comes to her heart,” McIntyre said. “It was easy and you don’t need to make an appointment. We only waited about 10 minutes and it gave us both peace of mind. I think every child and teenage athlete should do it. It’s good to know where you stand.”

Lee Health also works with national organizations like Who We Play For to provide free EKG screenings for children and teenagers at various community events throughout the year.

If your child is presenting any of the below symptoms of a heart problem, consult your child’s primary care physician or pediatric cardiologist:

  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Chest Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Arrhythmia

 

For more information, please visit www.leehealth.org.

 

About Lee Health

Since the opening of the first hospital in 1916, Lee Health has been a health care leader in Southwest Florida, constantly evolving to meet the needs of the community. A non-profit, integrated health care services organization, Lee Health is committed to the well-being of every individual served, focused on healthy living and maintaining good health. Staffed by caring people, inspiring health, services are conveniently located throughout the community in four acute care hospitals, two specialty hospitals, outpatient centers, walk-in medical centers, primary care and specialty physician practices and other services across the continuum of care. Learn more at www.LeeHealth.org.