eHealth Interview with Amber Neller

Importance of Pre-Participation ECG Screening

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AED Superstore’s Strategic Accounts Manager, Amber Neller, spoke with the eHealth Radio about Sudden Cardiac Arrest in young athletes, and the importance of sports pre-participation screenings that include ECGs.  Listen to this informative podcast interview here.

Eric: This is Eric Michaels and once again you have tuned into the eHealth Radio Network and the Heart Health, Emergency Care and Health News Channels. We’re also streaming on demand 24/7 on Tune-In Radio and the Tune-in Radio app for your listening convenience. Today we are speaking with Amber Neller, strategic accounts manager at AED Superstore, the world’s largest distributor of AEDs and items related to CPR training and heart-health. Amber, certainly a pleasure to have you with us here on eHealth Radio.

Amber: Thank you, I am happy to be here.

Eric: Good to have you and certainly always good to talk about CPR and being prepared. Now I read a startling fact the other day that stated every 72 hours a US athlete dies of sudden cardiac arrest which is absolutely alarming – tell me why that is and what can be done about it.

Amber: You’re right, Eric, it is alarming. Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading medical cause of death for sports athletes, and what is actually most concerning is many of these deaths occur at high school and college level. So even though they all go through a preparticipation exam which can help identify a possible heart problem, most high school and sports college programs do not offer an ECG in that exam because there is some controversy over the false-positive rate being too high – that’s when a test indicates there is a problem when there actually isn’t. The thought is this can lead to unnecessary medical expenses for follow-up diagnostic tests.

Eric: So, in your opinion, what can be done? It does seems like an ECG is an important piece of the puzzle to determining if an athlete should be participating in sports – especially something rigorous like football or basketball.

Amber: And it’s not actually just those two sports, but every sport. There is a device on the market right now that can be used by just about anyone with minimal training. It’s called the Cardea Screen and it’s a 12-lead ECG device, but it has several features other ECGs do not. It’s portable and connects to a laptop using Bluetooth which means screenings can be done anywhere. It records 16 seconds of data while most machines only record 10. So this improves the diagnosis. And most importantly, it is specially attuned to the athlete’s heart so the Cardea Screen’s false positive rate is about 3%, which is actually a lot lower than the 20-25% false-positive rate you might see with a standard ECG. Even better there is a 0% false-negative rate which means if it tells the athlete their heart is normal, they can be confident that it is normal.

Eric: You mentioned just about anyone could use the device – so even I could use it to monitor friends and neighbors? Get into that a little if you would.

Amber: Yes, in fact, I have been trained to use it and I have no medical background at all; the software is very simple to use. But it is primarily intended to use in screening athletes to identify heart conditions which may cause cardiac events during sports participation. So we are trying to get the word out to High School and College athletic teams, and sports associations. This device would also work well for a physician or pediatrician who conducts pre-participation exams and screenings in their office, or even for any cardiologist looking for a simple tool to see if further testing is needed.

Eric: Today we are with Amber Neller, strategic accounts manager at AED Superstore, the world’s largest distributor of AEDs and items related to CPR training and heart-health here on eHealth Radio’s Heart Health, Emergency Care and Health News Channels – a part of the eHealth Radio Network.

So, Amber, the device tells us exactly what is wrong? I want to get that clarified. For example, “I have XYZ and should not be playing Basketball”?

Amber: Yes, the machine does tell you what abnormality it detects. However, this is an option that can be turned off or on. It does print out a copy of the 16 second ECG with a note at the top that states whether the diagnosis is “normal” or “abnormal”. And if you were to have an “abnormal” a few things can happen. If the test is done during a screening where there are additional tests available, they may be referred to an echocardiogram station (which is basically an ultrasound of the heart), or they may be advised to take the results to a physician or their cardiologist for further evaluation.

Eric: Also what is your recommendation if people have kids who just started high school or college sports coming up? Any recommendations in that regard?

Amber: Yes, I would definitely say if there is a heart screening event taking place in your area (and many of them are free, or have a very low cost), it is a great idea to have your child checked out. The peace of mind is very well worth it. And I’m sure there are many parents who have lost a child on the field or court and they wish they had known about their child’s condition before it was too late. An ECG with the Cardea Screen is a simple, painless test that takes less than 10 minutes to complete.

Eric: We at eHealth radio certainly are pleasured and honored to be a part of getting the message out on your behalf. In conclusion, any closing thoughts, takeaways, or a final tip for the listeners today?

Amber: I would encourage all parents to consider having an ECG done on their child prior to participating in sports, because you just never know. And it was a pleasure, so thank you Eric, for having me on here today.

Eric: And you are more than welcome, Amber, where can listeners get more information and how could they be in contact as well?

Amber: You can get more information about the Cardea Screen on www.AEDSuperstore.com/cardeascreen.

Eric: Once again, Amber we thank you for your time and for joining us here today on eHealth radio. We certainly look forward to another conversation in the future.

Amber: Thank you, Eric.

Eric: And you’re more than welcome. We have been speaking with Amber Neller, strategic accounts manager at AED Superstore, the world’s largest distributor of AEDs, and items related to CPR training and heart health. And for more information the main website is AEDSuperstore.com, by visiting this broadcast page, we’ll have other links pertinent to this interview. And this has been Eric Michaels and you’ve been listening to eHealth Radio and the Heart Health Emergency Care and Health News Channels, a part of the eHealth Radio Network and we do thank you for listening, and until next time, enjoy.

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