Nicole Davies

Hello! My name is Nicole and I am a Marine spouse and mother of three daughters, ages 16, 10, and 7. I have been a stay-at-home mom most of their lives while also pursuing my Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In the past I have worked as a social worker for child welfare in the state of Pennsylvania. I have also taught preschool for ages 2.5 - 4. During my master’s program I interned as a therapist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital working with adults, teens, and kids. My ultimate goal is to become an independently licensed therapist. Our family has lived in Onslow County for 10 of the last 15 years, which has given my children a stability that is rare among military families. While NC has been my home for several years now, I am still a Yankee at heart! I will always choose a Philly cheesesteak over a pulled-pork sandwich. In addition to taking care of my family and my educational pursuits, I enjoy traveling to destinations near and far; a novel in which I can get lost; and chatting with friends over a good cup of coffee.

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Teens and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Teammates hoist Wes Leonard up after he hit the game-winning basket Thursday night. (via AP)

 

Cardiac arrhythmias are electrical malfunctions that throw the heart out of rhythm, causing many of the 330,000 sudden cardiac deaths each year in the United States.

Most fatal arrhythmias occur in aging patients when scar tissue left by a heart attack interferes with the heart’s electrical system. As many as 1,000 of the deaths, however, are caused by a genetic disorder called Long QT Syndrome (LQTS), which occurs mostly in teens with otherwise healthy hearts (read more here).

We have lost yet another teen sports star to this condition. Many of you know how involved my kids are in sports and this truly makes me scratch my head and wonder what I can do as a parent to help prevent this from happening to my child. Every year Soraya, and now Scootie, receives a physical to play sports. I wonder if there a test that we can ask to receive to find if our kids are at risk to go along with the physical. Or is this something that can even be detected? If there is such a test, how much extra would it cost?

The latest incident involved a young basketball and football star who was healthy and in great shape. After making the winning shot for his team, as if someone had just snapped their finger, he fell dead on the court. I am sure that is every parent’s worst nightmare and my heart goes just leaps out for the family. I know how important it is to know your family history, but the way families are today, I don’t know how easy that would be. I would love for anyone with information about how to screen for this, or what test should be taken to please share that information! Thank you all in advance and ask your physician at the next physical about getting your teen screened.

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2 Comments on “Teens and Sudden Cardiac Arrest”

  • Paula Patselas March 10th, 2011 10:13 am

    This is a heart wrenching story. I, too, relate – having an active teen son, age 15 1/2 who has been playing many various sports since he was 5 years old. Now that he is older, the play is much more physical with heavy contact, even in soccer – so I am always a bit on edge watching him (and the others) play. We think of our young athlete being young, robust and healthy, but indeed there can be hidden or undiscovered health conditions which lead to these types of sudden deaths. The answer may not be simple as medical economics come into play. Is it reasonable to do a full chest/ heart work up on every aspiring athlete, which could involve chest x-ray, chest CT scan, ultrasound evaluation, lab studies etc..? Parents need to become more responsible and take the initiative with their child’s physician as to the level of evaluation needed or desired to rule out any obvious abnormalities. Also perhaps schools/ colleges need to begin to require more in depth physical evaluations of student athletes to be able to hopefully detect abnormalities before they become an unexpected tragedy. Ultimately, all such abnormalities cannot be completely predicted.

  • Tawana March 14th, 2011 12:13 pm

    Thank you Paula for the extra information pertaining to this story!

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