Ryan O'Hare thought he was a perfectly heathy teen until he was diagnosed with Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome because of a heart screening offered to athletes at .
After the screening by Heartfelt Cardiac Project, a Laguna Beach-based charity, O'Hare spent many months receiving tests and evalutions from various cardiologists, and eventually underwent a procedure to correct the defect in his heart.
O'Hare's parents, Mark and Rita O'Hare, said they couldn't stress enough what they learned from the experience.
"We feel that every responsible parent and spouse should have their children and loved ones screened," they wrote in a letter now published on the nonprofit's website.
Another heath screening is planned for Saturday in San Clemente.
Holly Morrell founded the nonprofit organization Heartfelt Cardiac Projects to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest through three key steps: early detection, education and increased public awareness.
“I am a heart disease survivor and I have lost six of my family members to our genetic disease,” Morrell said. “I have dedicated my life to sparing other families the heartache of losing a loved one to what I consider a preventable tragedy.”
According to heartfeltcardiacprojects.org, sudden cardiac arrest is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, and causes the death of a young athlete in the United States every three days.
Sudden cardiac arrest is often confused with a heart attack but the two are different. A heart attack is attributed to a circulation problem when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. This stops oxygen from reaching the heart and the muscles stop working.
In contrast, sudden cardiac arrest is caused when the heart chambers suddenly begin moving at a rapid pace, or an irregular rhythm. This triggers quivering in the heart, which decreases its strength and restricts the supply of oxygen-filled blood to the body and brain.
Saturday, they will be hosting a heart screening from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“02 Wellness is a fabulous facility obviously concerned with the wellbeing of their community members,” Morrell said. “For a tax deductible donation of $85, we will provide $1,500 worth of comprehensive cardiac evaluation at 02 Wellness on May 19 for anyone ages 5 and up.”
If you are wondering why you should have a cardiac screening the following are common reasons provided by Heartfelt Cardiac Projects:
- You have a family history of heart disease or sudden death
- You have been diagnosed with a heart murmur
- You have high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, chronic lung condition, alcohol dependency, smoke, suffered a previous stroke, or have any other heart condition
- You are an athlete and are concerned about your heart health
- You want to learn more about your heart health
- You have not had and EKG or Echocardiogram in the past year
- You don’t know your Ejection Fraction (EF)
- You are looking for peace of mind