(Written by her parents)
HEARTFELT cardiac screening saved Rebecca’s life!
Rebecca ran cross-country, played JV basketball, and ran long distant track for Esperanza High School. In the summer after her freshman year, a girl’s sister on her cross-country team, Morgan, died suddenly on the tennis court from cardiac arrest. This event plus shortness of breath that Rebecca felt frequently when running longer distances in cross-country (her doctor told her it was sports induced asthma and gave her an inhaler to use), troubled her often. She suspected that something else might be wrong. That fall, HEARTFELT cardiac screening was offered at her high school campus and Rebecca felt the urge to be checked. The screening was easy and didn’t take long. After her screening, Rebecca was told by Heartfelt Cardiac Projects that an abnormality was detected, and referred her to a cardiologist for further testing.
Rebecca was diagnosed with Hydrotropic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). This is a
thickening of the middle wall (septum) between the heart chambers that makes the
lower left ventricle smaller and harder for blood to get through especially during
extreme exercise. At the time Rebecca was running up to 6 miles a day in cross-
country. The shortness of breath and tightness she was feeling in her chest wasn’t
from asthma; it most likely was from not enough blood being pumped through her
heart! Her cardiologist told her to stop organized sports immediately. He ran her
through several stress tests and found her heart working fine under normal
conditions. If her heart continued to pump extremely in sports, she may have
suffered cardiac arrest.
We are so thankful we discovered this through HEARTFELT cardiac screening. Rebecca’s life has changed. It’s been hard for her to give up competitive sports. She has found alternative ways of exercise through Pilates, yoga, and hiking. Her cardiologist has her on a low dosage beta-blocker medication but no further medical attention is needed other than yearly heart checkups.
HCM is genetic. Our family has been genetically tested and neither her brother nor
sister has HCM. We also know that Rebecca can pass this along to her kids but now
that this gene has been identified, it possibly could be “spun out” of Rebecca’s DNA
so it may not affect her future children.
This diagnosis has also inspired Rebecca to inform others about this screening. She
learned that statistically 3 other people at her school could have HCM and not know
it. The following spring after her diagnosis, Rebecca spoke to every sports team at
Esperanza High School encouraging them to get tested at the HEARTFELT cardiac
screening held at the same time as the spring sport’s physicals. Supporting
HEARTFELT cardiac screening is very important to Rebecca. Many thanks to Holly,
the founder of HEARTFELT cardiac screening, for all her kindness and
encouragement during this scary time!
Dawn & Mark,
Rebecca’s mom & dad
Learn more about heart screenings at:
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