Letter to Parents/Guardians

Dear Parent/Guardian,
No doubt you have read in the news about the sudden deaths of young people, sometimes while
engaged in sports activities. Although many times the causes are not clear, evidence indicates that
some young people are succumbing to a heart arrhythmia known as Long or Prolonged QT
Syndrome. We are writing to acquaint you with Long QT Syndrome. In addition, XXXXXXX School
District is taking the lead in addressing this condition and its possible consequences with several
steps in a pilot program outlined below.
As part of a pilot program, we are:
1. Sending you this information to better acquaint you with Long QT Syndrome. We have
developed questions in conjunction with the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS)
Foundation (www.sads.org) that you can discuss with your family physician regarding Long QT.
2. Increasing our school nurses’, coaches’, and teachers’ awareness and information about Long
QT Syndrome.
3. Working with the local media to increase awareness in the community about Long QT Syndrome
and to publicize the steps XXXXXX School District is taking.
On the reverse side of this letter we are providing information about Long QT Syndrome and the
questions to consider. If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, we suggest you discuss the
situation and any further actions with your family physician or pediatrician.
Director of Pupil Services
XXXXXXX School District Physician
About Long QT Syndrome (LQTS)
1. LQTS is a disturbance of the heart’s electrical system, causing an abnormality of the heartbeat,
or rhythm of the heart.
2. Because of this abnormality, affected people are vulnerable to sudden fainting (syncope) and
even death.
3. Unfortunately, many times the cause of the syncope is overlooked and Long QT Syndrome is
not considered.
4. Most often, these events occur during physical exertion or emotional stress. In some they occur
during sleep.
5. Fortunately, most of these deaths are preventable if the condition is recognized and treated.
What Are The Symptoms?
 Fainting episodes (syncope) during or immediately after physical activity
 Fainting as a result of emotional excitement/distress/startle
 Family history of unexplained death below age 40
… although many times there are no obvioius symptoms
How Is It Diagnosed?
The diagnosis is made from an ECG (also known as an EKG) that has been read by a physician,
not by the machine itself. Usually a series of ECGs will enable a doctor to diagnose LQTS. In some
cases, an exercise ECG or event monitor will clarify the diagnosis.
How Is It Treated?
Treatment can be very effective in the vast majority of patients. Medications called beta-blockers
are effective in about 90% of patients.
This information is from materials from the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS)
Foundation. Visit their website at www.sads.org for more information.
Questions to discuss with your child’s physician:
1. Does your child have any ongoing medical conditions (like asthma, epilepsy or diabetes)?
2. Is your child currently taking any prescription, non-prescription (over the counter), or herbal
preparations or pills everyday?
3. Has a doctor ever denied or restricted your child’s participation in sports for any reason?
4. Does anyone in your family have a heart problem? Marfan syndrome?
5. Has any family member or relative died of heart problems or sudden or unexplained death
before age 50?
6. Has a doctor ever ordered a test for your child’s heart?
7. Has your child ever passed out or nearly passed out DURING or right after exercise?
8. Has your child ever had extreme shortness of breath or chest pain during exercise?
9. Does your child or any family member have a history of fainting episodes, especially related to