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Free heart screenings for anyone ages 12 to 25 until 3 p.m. today at Hart Middle School

EKG, echocardiogram exams available to check for heart issues

A free heart screening event for teens and young adults is being held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at Hart Middle School by Via Heart Project, which offers free EKG and echocardiogram exams for anyone ages 12 to 25.

The Project was started by Patricia Clark after her husband died of an undiagnosed heart condition. Registration is open through Friday at viaheartproject.org/screenings and is limited to 750 students.

All of the screenings are non-invasive, and do not involve x-rays or any procedures with needles.

The first time Clark's husband had symptoms related to his genetic heart condition was the day he died in 2007. While he knew he had some heart problem as a child, but he hadn't been diagnosed with any serious condition.

Clark, of Pleasanton, said he was going about his day as usual at Intel when he collapsed while talking with an employee.

"He was never told the severity of his condition," she said. "A lot of these tests are not available for kids who don't show any symptoms."

Clark said she made the decision to take her husband off life support after 12 excruciating days, vowing to make sure no other family went through the same pain.

Her husband, and later two of her sons, were diagnosed with a genetic condition, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Sunday's screenings will look for myriad conditions, diseases and abnormalities, including Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Clark, who is helping organize Sunday's screening, said prior health screenings done by Via Heart Project have helped detect heart problems in otherwise healthy children -- and the vast majority walk away with the assurance their hearts are in good shape.

"Knowledge is everything," Clark said. "I'd do anything to spare another family what my family had to go through."

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