Heart Health Screening Study

The Heart Health Screening Study (HHSS) is part of a community-based research study that provides free heart screenings in the community. The goal is to reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest by identifying young people with potentially serious heart problems that had not been previously diagnosed, and then provide them with heart health education as well as recommendations for clinical evaluation and follow-up.

The HHSS is currently partnering with CHOP’s Healthy Weight Program through a community-based study called Healthy Hearts, Healthy Lives, to provide information about healthy eating, exercise and smoking cessation. The HHSS also provides education on CPR and AED use to study participants and families.

The HHSS research study is also committed to improving screening methods in order to find the best ways to detect these problems.

The HHSS brings these heart health screenings to the community. We visit your school or community location to perform the screenings. This allows us to screen students in a familiar setting and helps parents enroll their children without the burden of travelling to the Hospital.

Screenings are supported by foundations or groups focused on local or regional events along with other grant support.

About the screenings

Heart screenings are offered to all children, usually between 5 and 19 years of age, who consent or assent (agree) to participate in the screenings. During the screening events, a health professional will perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) and take height, weight and blood pressure measurements. A pediatric cardiologist will read the ECG on site.

If there is a concern with your child’s ECG and/or any of the personal or family history found on his heart health questionnaire, he may be eligible for a free echocardiogram (ECHO) and cardiac examination by a CHOP cardiologist. This will depend on the specific concerns.

Children found to have potentially serious abnormalities that were previously unknown are referred to cardiac specialists for treatment to prevent sudden cardiac arrest. Depending on the cardiac anomaly identified, treatment may include surgery, cardiac catheterization procedures, or medication.

Youth Heart Watch and the Heart Health Screening Study have provided screenings in more than 20 settings, primarily schools, but also at Philadelphia Recreation Centers, the Please Touch Museum, and other locations. We have screened almost 5,000 children with an electrocardiogram (ECG). More than 30 children have been identified with serious and previously undiagnosed heart problems that have required further care.