Young Hearts 4 Life offers free heart screenings for students


Kayla Clark

Young Hearts For Life provided free heart screenings for students.

Metea hosted the Young Hearts 4 Life cardiac screening on Feb. 7 in the main gym. The program offered a free and painless electrocardiogram (ECG), which flagged students who may be at risk for certain heart conditions. These conditions can result in Sudden Cardiac Death (SDC).

Young Hearts 4 Life was funded for Metea students by Edward Elmhurst Health, Indian Prairie Education Foundation, and Young Hearts for Life donors. Screenings usually occur every two years, however, this is the first time the program has been back at Metea since the pandemic. Health teacher Ashley Hartke is excited about the return of Young Hearts 4 Life.

“The benefits of Young Hearts 4 Life is having the ability to be diagnosed with these conditions which often have no signs, no symptoms until it is too late,” Hartke said. “In addition, it is detected quickly. You are  not missing school and most importantly, it’s free.”

Since 2006, the Young Hearts 4 Life program has screened more than 220,000 students. 2,400 of those students were classified at risk. After consulting with cardiologists, hundreds of students were discovered to have possible deadly heart conditions. SDC kills approximately. 60 teenagers every week.

“The goal is health awareness and to save lives,” Hartke said. “During this entire program you might find one or two students [with a heart condition], but that is one or two students in our school that we saved. The district and the PTSA pay a lot of money for this to happen and it is  worth it if you can save at least one person’s life in our school.”

It is recommended that teenagers are heart tested every two years to determine if their current lifestyle choices are working for an individual’s particular body and genetic makeup. Hartke urges underclassmen to screen again when Young Hearts 4 Life returns back to Metea.

“For juniors and seniors, this [was] their last chance to have a free EKG done in school,” Hartke said. “Freshmen and sophomores will have the opportunity to get scanned again during their junior and senior year.”