Parent Heart Watch Issues Statement in Support of Electrocardiogram (ECG) Screening in Youth

37 PHW Member Organizations in 22 States Provide Heart Screenings to Youth


Chicago, Illinois… Parent Heart Watch (PHW), the national voice solely dedicated to protecting youth from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), supports the use of carefully organized and implemented electrocardiogram (ECG) screening in youth to better identify those with conditions associate with SCA. Currently 37 Parent Heart Watch member organizations are partnering with cardiologists and sports medicine physicians to host heart screenings for youth ages 5-24. The screenings include an electrocardiogram (ECG) and/or an echocardiogram, which research increasingly shows can be effective in the early detection of heart conditions that may lead to sudden cardiac arrest.


Parent Heart Watch membership is comprised of parents who have lost a child to SCA, have a child that has survived SCA or is living with a heart condition, young survivors, medical professionals and other advocates. Many have their own local foundations, in honor or memory of their child who suffered SCA. “We all work tirelessly in our own communities to protect children from sudden cardiac arrest,” said Executive Director, Michele Snyder. “One of the ways we accomplish this is by offering free or low-cost community heart screenings for early detection. We want to let people know that heart screenings can be an effective way to detect many preexisting and potentially fatal disorders.”


PHW advocates for physical examinations that include family history, attentiveness to the warning signs and symptoms of a heart condition, and the addition of a simple non-invasive electrocardiogram, interpreted by a physician proficient in reading youth ECGs.


While the incidence of SCA in youth is sometimes referred to as “rare” or “infrequent”, the true numbers are not yet known. “There hasn’t been a mandatory and systematic way to report these deaths,” said Snyder. “Much of the research done on incidence has been from media reports, which clearly is not a reliable source, as many PHW members’ own stories were not in the media. Now that the Sudden Death in the Young Registry has officially been launched by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we will finally have true numbers on SCD in youth.”


To learn more about screening dates, times and PHW member organizations, visit