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Screenings find heart abnormalities in 1 of 300 teens tested

East County News Service

September 13, 2017 (Lakeside) – Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) occurs when a heart unexpectedly stops beating because of an undetected heart abnormality. To combat this syndrome, which is a leading cause of death in people under age 25 and the #1 killer of student athletes, the Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation is hosting a free heart screening on Sunday, September 17th from 9 am. to 3 p.m. at El Capitan High School (10410 Ashwood St. Lakeside, CA 92040).

The Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation has screened over 23,000 youth, finding nearly 1 in 300 with a heart abnormality that unknowingly put them at risk. Participants, ages 12 to 25, can register for the free screening at, where they download a screening packet, complete and bring to the event.

 “SCA is not a heart attack. It’s an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system that may be detected with a simple electrocardiogram (ECG). And even though the first symptom of SCA could be death, screenings are not a part of youth health checkups or pre-participation sports physicals, which is why Eric’s Foundation provides free heart screenings to area teens,” said Hector Paredes and Rhina Paredes-Greeson, founders of Eric’s Foundation.

The heart screening consists of a cardiac questionnaire completed by parent & student, an electrocardiogram (ECG), and if indicated, a limited echocardiogram. It takes less than an hour and is painless and noninvasive (no needles or x-ray exposure). Screenings are conducted by a 120-member volunteer team of San Diego cardiologists, nurses, techs and non-medical staff led by the foundation’s medical director, Dr. John Rogers, a Scripps cardiologist, who was recognized nationally by Parent Heart Watch as a 2014 Hero for Young Hearts.

Because SCA is fatal in 92% of cases if not treated within minutes, the screening also features demonstrations of how to use hands-only CPR and an automated external defibrillation (AED), the only two life-saving measures once SCA strikes.

SCA awareness is gaining ground statewide. Governor Brown signed the Eric Paredes Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act into law on September 29 which expands student athlete safety standards to include ‪‎Sudden Cardiac Arrest protocol. The legislation, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, now requires student athletes to acknowledge annually that they received a fact sheet on cardiac arrest warning signs starting July 1, 2017. It also requires a coach or someone in a similar position to remove a student who passes out or faints during athletic activity.

Founded to honor the Steele Canyon High School teen who lost his life to SCA at 15 in 2009, Eric's Foundation strives to educate parents, educators, physicians and elected officials on the prevalence of SCA among teens and the importance of standardizing ECGs as part their regular health care. Established in 2010, the non-profit foundation provides free cardiac screenings to teens, with the ultimate goal of standardizing screenings among our youth, and equipping our schools with readily accessible automated external defibrillators (AED) with CPR/AED training for students and staff.

For more information, visit