Free Heart Screenings for Teens Prevent Cardiac Arrest

The Paredes family began offering the screenings after losing their son to an undiagnosed heart condition

An El Cajon family worked Sunday to prevent their son’s fate from happening to other teenagers.

The Paredes family lost their son, Eric, to an undetected heart condition about 4 ½ years ago.
“I came home for lunch and found my son collapsed on the kitchen floor,” said Eric’s father Hector. “So he was a healthy 15-year-old boy who had grown up playing football, who was on the wrestling team and showed no outward symptoms of a heart condition.”
After Eric died, Hector and his wife found out their son had a condition related to long QT syndrome, which they say could have been detected by an electrocardiogram (EKG).
However, EKGs were not part of Eric’s annual physical check-up, Hector said.
The couple decided to create a foundation in Eric’s name to make sure children his age get the screening he did not.
Sunday, the Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation offered free heart screenings at Scripps Mercy Hospital between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Teens between the ages of 13 and 19 were encouraged to get checked.
According to the foundation, boys are four times more likely than girls to suffer from sudden cardiac arrest, and it occurs during exercise 60 percent of the time.
“I think as parent, when your child is especially an athlete and is very physical, plays contact sports -- or whatever sport they do – it’s just the last thing you think about, is that they have an undiagnosed heart condition,” said Hector.
On Sunday, the foundation celebrated its 10,000th screening, and among those, 1 out of every 100 was found to be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest.
The Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation will hold another five screenings this year; the next is slated for April 27 at Scripps Ranch High School
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