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Attendees learn CPR and AED procedures during the PeaceHealth/FHS heart screening event (May 30, 2018). Photo: ourtesy of PeaceHealth

Free heart screening at FHS served 171 – need for continued care revealed for some

PeaceHealth’s annual free Teen Heart Screening event came to Ferndale High School (FHS) this year and was well-attended. According to organizers, 171 people went through the painless screening process and, of those, 9 were identified as having significant or other findings.

  • The screenings were conducted in the FHS gymnasium on May 30th. Attendees underwent painless and noninvasive screenings that included:
  • Review of teen’s Health Screening Survey including personal and family health history
  • Height and weight measurement
  • Blood pressure
  • ECG/EKG (electrocardiogram)
  • Echocardiogram (if deemed appropriate and ordered by physician)

In addition to learning to care for their own heart, attendees also learned how to care for other’s during chest-compression CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training.

Of those students screened, 9 were found to require continued care and follow up. The following information was provided by PeaceHealth Communications Specialist Deanna Ellefson.

– One student with premature ventricular contraction; follow up to receive a Holter monitor; parents and primary care physician (PCP) notified.


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– One student with hypertension and mild left ventricular hypertrophy; follow up for repeat echo study and blood pressure recheck;  parents and PCP notified.

– Five students with possible hypertension; follow up with school nurse to recheck blood pressure and follow up with PCP if still abnormal.

– Two students were recommended for a repeat EKG with their PCP.

The free screenings were the result of a combined effort of several volunteers and agencies. They included:

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  • PeaceHealth St. Joseph and PeaceHealth Medical Group Bellingham caregivers including physicians, cardiologists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, EKG technologists and support team members
  • First responders and emergency medical professionals including Whatcom County Fire Districts #1, 7, and 14, BP Cherry Point ERTs and Airlift NW
  • Mended Hearts and Young Mended Hearts Bellingham Chapter
  • Corporate volunteers with Kelley Insurance Agency, Inc. and Boston Scientific
  • Faculty and students from Ferndale High School

Whatcom Fire Chiefs Association provided the private screening enclosures, six EKG screening laptops, professional EMS volunteers and CPR AED trainers. Kelley Insurance and Safeco Insurance agencies provided grants to fund the volunteers’ meals. 4 EKG systems were provided by the PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation in 2017.

This is the 7th Teen Heart Screening event held in Whatcom County and plans are to continue holding the event at different locations each year. Organizers recently hinted at doing more than one a year.

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