February is designated as American Heart Health Awareness Month. Children and young adults are also prone to sudden cardiac death. One of the most common causes of sudden cardiac death is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).  HCM is a genetic disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it harder to pump blood throughout the body. Most people have few, if any, symptoms of this disease. Some people experience shortness of breath when exercising, chest pain, fainting, dizziness, fatigue, or abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

Early detection and treatment saves lives!  In honor of our 10th Anniversary, The Gregory M. Hirsch Memorial Foundation (GMHMF) in conjunction with Fair Lawn High School will be conducting screenings during the weeks of February 10, 2014 and February 24, 2014 during school hours. During a similar screening at Waldwick High School, three students were identified and required follow-up care. One student’s case was serious. Thanks to early detection, these students are now under the care of their physician and have the opportunity to lead strong, productive lives. Tests will show any abnormalities of the heart if one exists in student.

This innovative screening program was developed by Kerri Winans Kaley, of Huntington, NY, founder of CardiacScan Imaging Services and GMHMF trustee along with Robert J. Tozzi, M.D., FACC, of Ridgewood, director of the Gregory M. Hirsch Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, a division of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC).

Freshman students at Fairlawn High School may take advantage of this free screening.  This year’s screening is sponsored by GMHMF.

 “Screenings are critical and the only way to know if your child has HCM,” said Fred C. Hirsch, GMHMF Founder. “They are painless and take about 30 minutes. A fraction of time, compared to a lifetime of grief in losing your child if your child has HCM or any other heart abnormalities.”

GMHMF is working with other area non-profit organizations to defray the costs so that every freshman high school class in Bergen County can be screened.

Prevent sudden cardiac arrest; save your child’s life!

             GMHMF is dedicated to preventing sudden cardiac death in children and young adults by better understanding its causes, identifying at-risk individuals and families, and offering those families state-of-the-art treatment and support. All etiologies of sudden cardiac death will be investigated including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is responsible for the vast majority of these devastating losses. For more information, please visit www.gmhmfoundation.org.

The Gregory M. Hirsch Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center, a division of the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at HUMC is committed to providing individualized care, treatment, and support to patients and families with HCM.  It is the first facility established in the area to screen families for HCM. For more information, please visit www.humc.com/hirsch.


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