Expert: Genetic heart defect can go undetected in 'healthy' kids

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by Lucy Bustamante, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 18 at 8:34 PM

NORFOLK -- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common reason people collapse after a race.

Doctors say even if your child has received a routine physical, it might not be enough to detect an underlying issue. 

Dr. Deepak Talreja of Cardiovascular Associates says the latest studies show even the most trained runners should not do more than three marathons a year. He says its important to give the body at least four months to recover befor racing again. 

"If you look at people pre- and post-marathon, especially if you're undertrained, then their heart doesn't seem to work as well right after a marathon and that can persist for weeks to a couple of months," Dr. Talreja noted. 

The Virginia Beach cardiologist says he hopes the U.S. eventually catches up with Europe when it comes to quality testing during a child's physical. 

"In the U.S., you have someone listen to your heart and in the absence of a murmur nothing else is required." He says hyperthrophic cardiomyopthy is the genetic condition that doctors miss if they don't hear a murmur. 

Until insurance companies agree to pay for EKG's as part of a routine physical, Dr. Talreja says good training and hydration is key. 

Running coach Jonathan Harris says it's important to recognize that a child's body is different and needs to be treated accordingly. 

"I increase their mileage less. With an adult it's 10 percent each week and with kid I do 5 percent each week," Harris said. 

He says training up to race day is crucial when it comes to keeping your heart strong. 

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