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Should children be tested for heart disease?

Updated on January 12, 2016

Please discuss whether you agree with the following statement: All children should be screened on a regular basis for heart disease. Be sure to support your responses.

I partially disagree with the statement: all children should be screened on a regular basis for heart disease. I believe that at risk children and children who have an unknown family history should be screened on a regular basis for heart disease. There are six main risk factors for heart disease; these risk factors are: obesity, high blood pressure, family history of cardiovascular disease, depressive and bipolar disorders, exposure to cigarette smoke, and underlying medical problems (Ferranti & Newburger, 2015). Underlying medical problems are medical conditions such as: diabetes, chronic kidney disease, heart transplantation, Kawasaki disease, and/or treatment for cancer during childhood (Ferranti & Newburger, 2015). Children that experience one or more of the risk factors should be screened on a regular basis for heart disease; children that do not have any of the risk factors for heart disease do not need to be screened on a regular basis for heart disease.

Heart disease screening typically involves four main tests, although more tests are needed if any of the screening tests show signs of heart disease. The four tests involved in heart disease screening are a cholesterol test, a blood glucose levels tests, a high-sensitivity C - reactive protein test, and a blood pressure test (Cardiac Screening, 2014). If the results of the screening indicate a high risk of heart disease then the child would need a new set of tests done to determine if the child has heart disease. These tests would likely include cardiac CT for calcium scoring, coronary CT angiography (CTA), nuclear stress test, and a coronary catheter angiography (Cardiac Screening, 2014). While there is little risk to a child being screened on a regular basis for heart disease, there are some risks involved with the tests done to confirm if the child has heart disease. The child being tested, not screened, for heart disease would experience levels of radiation that could increase the risk of cancer, an allergic reaction, skin damage, damage to blood vessels and nerves, a blood clot, punctured artery, and kidney injuries (Cardiac Screening, 2014). The benefits from catching the heart disease early and being able to treat it faster do outweigh the risks from the tests (Cardiac Screening, 2014). To prevent false positives and having children being put through tests that are unneeded, I believe only children who at risk should be screened on a regular basis for heart disease.

References

Cardiac Screening. (2014, February 4). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=screening-cardiac

Ferranti, S., & Newburger, J. (2015, October 8). Children and heart disease (D. Fulton, Ed.). Retrieved October 26, 2015, from http://www.uptodate.com/contents/children-and-heart-disease-atherosclerosis-beyond-the-basics

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