One example of a heart defect that affects one of every 5,000 people, typically children and young adults, is Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). LQTS is a disorder of the electrical system of the heart, which can be genetic or acquired. Electrical defects predispose an affected person to a very fast heart rhythm. The rhythm is too fast for the heart to beat effectively, so the blood flow to the brain decreases. This causes the blood pressure to fall rapidly, causing a sudden loss of consciousness – even death.
"In too many cases, the first symptom of LQTS can often be the last. We want families to be aware of this disorder and to examine family histories to see if they are at risk," said Robert Campbell, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Sibley Heart Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Hundreds of children and young adults in the United States die from LQTS every year. Increasing awareness of this often genetic disease can help save many lives. Fortunately, most of these deaths are preventable if the condition is recognized and treated.
Parents should ask their pediatrician, and tell the doctor about their child's symptoms and their family history. The pediatrician may refer the family to a pediatric cardiologist for further evaluation.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the leading pediatric healthcare systems in the country, is pleased to offer summer tips for parents and their children. Click on the links for more information. Children's experts are also available for interviews pertaining to these topics, as well as additional pediatric health care issues. Please contact Children's 24-hour, 7-day-a-week media pager at 404-570-9717 to reach a public relations representative immediately. Children's is a not-for-profit organization that benefits from the generous philanthropic and volunteer support of our community. Operating three hospitals with more than half a million patient visits annually, Children's is recognized for excellence in cancer, cardiac, neonatal, orthopaedic and transplant services, as well as many other pediatric specialties. Visit our Web site at www.choa.org or call 404-250-KIDS to learn more about Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
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