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Schools offering heart screening for teens

SNELLVILLE - A life-saving heart screening test will be offered in September for less than $60 at two Snellville high schools.

Representatives of Heart Screens for Teens will administer echocardiograms Saturday at Shiloh High School and Sept. 27 at Brookwood High School, officials said. The echo is an 8-minute ultrasound scan that can reveal the presence of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which is an enlarged heart, said Stephanie Naus, the coordinator of Heart Screens for Teens.

The scan will be videotaped, and the recording will be analyzed by a pediatric cardiologist, who will look for the presence of HCM or any other heart abnormalities, Naus said. The results of the scan will be mailed directly to parents.

Although the test normally costs $900 to $1,500, the Heart Screens for Teens programs offers the scans for a reduced rate of $58, Naus said.

Tests are designed for children aged 11 to 18, Naus said. The scan's aren't just for athletes, either, she said. Children with an undiagnosed heart condition could experience a problem in gym class.

"We have the equipment and the technicians," she said. "We want to put it to good use and save a life if we can."

The Shiloh community recently experienced the loss of 13-year-old Jahceem Xavier, who died in July following a Gwinnett Football League practice. An autopsy revealed the Shiloh Middle School student suffered from an enlarged heart.

Shiloh High's Parent-Teacher-Student Association decided to offer the community a chance to participate in the screening partly in reaction to Xavier's death, said Chuck Westbrook, the PTSA's public relations director.

"We want to test teens and make sure they don't have heart problems that could become tragic," Westbrook said.

The heart scans will be offered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Shiloh High School, Westbrook said. Registration is required, and appointments can be made by calling the PTSA at 770-217-0916 by Wednesday.

Later in the month, scans will also be administered at Brookwood High School. Brookwood's PTSA has offered annual screenings, and heart conditions have been uncovered in the past, said Gayla Malkiel, the chairwoman of the health committee.

The screenings at Brookwood will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 27. Appointments can be made at the school between 2:15 and 3 p.m. Wednesday and 6 to 6:45 p.m. Sept. 8. Those interested can also e-mail Malkiel at gaylamail@aol.com to arrange an appointment.

"One child - if it helps, that's been worthwhile," Malkiel said.

Both screenings are open to the public.

For more information about Heart Screens for Teens, visit www.

heartscreenforteens.com.

SideBar: If you go

What: Heart Screens for Teens

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Commons area, Shiloh High School, 4210 Shiloh Road, Snellville

Cost: $58

Note: Registration for the screening is required. Call the Shiloh High PTSA at 770-217-0916 by Wednesday to make an appointment.

What: Heart Screens for Teens

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 27

Where: Commons area, Brookwood High School, 1255 Dogwood Road, Snellville

Cost: $58

Note: Registration for the screening is required. E-mail Gayla Malkiel at gaylamail@aol.com or visit Brookwood High from 2:15 to 3 p.m. Wednesday or 6 to 6:45 p.m. Sept. 8 to make an appointment.