Mon | Mar 19, 2018

Heart Foundation to screen for sudden cardiac arrest risks

Published:Wednesday | February 1, 2017 | 12:12 AM
Sudden cardiac death can happen to you.

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) will be conducting screenings for risk factors associated with sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) during Heart Month in February.

The HFJ's executive director, Deborah Chen, said it is important for persons to know if they have any of the underlying conditions that may lead to SCA.

"We are all at risk; we need to know our numbers and our status on things like blood pressure and cholesterol. We might be a walking time bomb and we don't know it. People who appear healthy can be at risk," she pointed out.

Chen said that during Heart Month, screenings will be conducted at several locations across the island. The HFJ team is also prepared to go into communities at the request of residents.

"We have quite a long list of screening dates beyond February. You can call HFJ to find out when we will be in your neighbourhood. Every month there is a schedule of screenings that we are doing across the island. In fact, we also encourage persons to give us a call and invite the HFJ screening team to come into their communities," she said.

The month's activities will also include a mass Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Training Day at HFJ; an address to the Lions Club of Kingston by Dr Paul Wright on SCA in sports; a church service at St Luke's Anglican Church in St Andrew on February 5; a medical symposium on February 16; and outside broadcasts and promotions.

The executive director reiterated the importance of getting screened bearing in mind the risk factors that may lead to SCA. These include a family history of heart disease or stroke; drug abuse, hyperthyroidism; underlying heart conditions such as coronary artery disease and congenital heart disease; severe heart failure or hyperthyroidism.

SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, cutting off vital blood flow to the brain and other vital organs, likely resulting in death if not treated immediately.

Symptoms include:

- chest pain

- heart palpitations

- unexplained fainting

- shortness of breath

- unusual fatigue

- dizziness

- seizures


Heart Month is being observed under the theme: 'Sudden Cardiac Death ... Could it Happen to You?'

During Heart Month, screenings will be conducted at the following health centres:

Kingston and St Andrew

- Duhaney Park

- Harbour View

- Maxfield Park

- Lawrence Tavern

- Rollington Town

- Norman Gardens

St Thomas

- Llandewey

- Trinity Ville



St Catherine

- Waterford

- Old Harbour

On select days, screening will be done at the following locations:


Friday, February 10


Several malls in the Corporate Area and St Catherine,


- Regal Plaza in Cross Roads

- Boulevard Super Centre

- Tropical Plaza and Sovereign Centre in St. Andrew

- Sagicor Shopping Centre in Spanish Town


Tuesday, February 14


Residents in Montego Bay, St James and its environs will be screened at locations to be determined.

Interested persons are invited to call HFJ at 926-4378 or visit the offices at 28 Beechwood Avenue for details.