Pediatric Heart Surgeon Urges High School Students To Take Care Of Their Hearts

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Sunil P. Malhotra, MD, Director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, (center) is joined by (left to right) Judy LoBianca, Supervisor of Physical Education, Nursing Services and Health for the South Orange and Maplewood School District; Toni Martinez, Health Teacher at Columbia High School; Sandra Frowley and Brenda Wilken of Allison’s Heart Foundation for Children & Young Adults, Inc. (Photo courtesy of Barnabas Health)

MAPLEWOOD — Sunil P. Malhotra, MD, director of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, spoke today with students in the junior class at Columbia High School in Maplewood.

Dr. Malhotra’s message was about lifelong heart health and recognizing the signs and symptoms of heart disease. The event was organized by Columbia High School, Alison’s Heart Foundation for Children and Young Adults, Inc. and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, and affiliate of Barnabas Health.

October is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month and Dr. Malhotra used the occasion to remind teenagers that heart problems are not just for old people. He outlined the mild symptoms that can sometimes precede a devastating cardiac event and urged students to tell parents, coaches and teachers if they experience any of the symptoms. “Thousands of young athletes die each year from undiagnosed heart ailments and these may be the only warnings you will get,” he explained.

Students were invited to register for the free cardiac and concussion screening event on Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to noon at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Ninety percent of sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes occur during or after athletic activities and nearly one in five high school athletes suffers a concussion each season.

Barnabas Health’s Mathew J. Morahan III Memorial Health Assessment Center for Athletes is taking a proactive role in preventing these problems in young players. Youngsters ages 6 to 18 years old are eligible for the cardiac screening test and athletes 12 years old and up can take the ImPACT concussion screening test. Registration for this event is required. To register for this free screening, call 1-973-926-2064.


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