Hinsdale Magazine | Health & Wellness
HEARTS of GOLD Thanks to the combined efforts and funding of the Just1Mike Foundation, Young Hearts for Life and Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, on Sept. 7, every student at Hinsdale Central High School will be given the opportunity to be screened for undetected heart conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death. By Rosie Conway Photography by Daniel Garcia
Dr. Joseph Marek of Advocate Medical Group (above); Kristy Brindley (right) of Clarendon Hills holds a photo of her son, Michael.
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Did you know that sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in young athletes and the second overall cause of death among youth under the age of 25, with an estimated 60 young adults dying each week from SCA in the United States? These shocking statistics were ones that prompted cardiologist Dr. Joseph Marek of Advocate Medical Group in Downers Grove into taking action, and finding a way to screen youths in America for undetected heart conditions. “For the longest time, there was nothing that was practical or cost effective for detection,” Marek said. “As a cardiologist and as a parent, I’ve been concerned about these conditions.” After reading a Wall Street Journal article in 2006 about cardiac screening in Italy, Marek thought the reporter got the information wrong. It turns out that in fact, for 25 years, Italian doctors have been doing electrocardiogram (EKG) screenings, which are quick, simple and painless tests. “Sure enough, just doing a simple EKG on young adults and athletes would have a very significant impact on reducing sudden death,” Marek said. And so in 2006, Dr. Marek founded Young Hearts For Life (YH4L), a cardiac