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    Ranney School Promotes Healthy Initiatives and State-of-the-Art Heart Screenings for Athletes

    4/7/2011
    Ranney School recently announced a series of heart-healthy initiatives that launched during American Heart Awareness Month and will continue throughout the school year. Most significant is the chance for Ranney spring varsity athletes to receive state-of-the-art cardiology screenings on campus designed to identify and evaluate dangerous heart murmurs that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest (SCD) in young athletes. Although SCD in young athletes is rare, Ranney is taking the initiative to educate its athletes and their families at a time when SCD continues to make national headlines and has caused great concern.

    "This is all about supporting health and wellness in the Ranney community," said Dr. Lawrence S. Sykoff, Head of School. "It is taking proactive health measures to a more sophisticated level, beyond screening for hearing and vision. Giving our athletes the chance to take part in this FDA approved screening places Ranney at the forefront of 21st century medical technology," he said. Initial scanning sessions took place on Wednesday, April 6th.

    According Shant Hovnanian, Chairman of Zargis Medical Inc., Ranney is the first school to take part in the "Project HeartRox" outreach program aimed to bring this technology to thousands of schools nationwide and help eliminate SCD among athletes in our schools. "Ranney's collaboration with a local medical center, medical personnel and nonprofit health organizations is a model for other schools to follow," Hovnanian said. He also referenced the American Heart Association's 12-step screening process, which may also help reduce SCD.

    Graciously supported by a Ranney family and local health organization, Zargis Cardioscan heart sound analysis software, along with an accompanying wireless Bluetooth-enabled electronic stethoscope, makes it possible for Ranney athletes to undergo this innovative screening. The doctor reading the digital heart scan is able to more accurately detect potential heart anomalies that could lead to SCD. This highly sophisticated Cardioscan equipment can provide insight into rhythmical sounds of the functioning heart; although not yet an aspect of New Jersey State required Annual Athletic Pre-Participation Physical Examinations for all athletes, it is another way Ranney is taking the lead to support its student athletes by facilitating important health screenings.

    The cardiac screenings are being held on campus in conjunction with CentraState Medical Center, Freehold, and medical personnel, and with educational support from national non-profit health organizations. The Cardioscan will be used to enhance sports physicals and assist in the identification of acoustical abnormal heart sounds that could indicate a serious medical condition warranting more comprehensive testing by a family pediatrician and pediatric cardiologist. The technology recently earned the Popular Science Innovation of the Year and Edison Best New Product awards.

    A part of a non-invasive screening, the Cardioscan software helps the healthcare professional in the use of a wireless stethoscope for the recording, display and analysis of heart sounds and other physiological acoustic signals. Cardioscan wirelessly transfers heart, lung and other body sounds to software for further analysis by the doctor reading the Cardioscan, making visible what physicians are hearing through the scope and becoming a means to "see" into the chest and differentiate between benign and harmful heart murmurs. The recorded data can then be played at slow speeds to hear more clearly and can be saved for comparison in future exams.


    Courtesy Screenings at Ranney, with Help from CentraState Medical Center Doctor

    With input from Ranney’s Medical Advisory Board –- Drs. Ann Ross, Meg Fisher, M. Michael Jones and Brian Torpey — varsity athletes involved in spring sports at Ranney will be the first to receive voluntary scans. In preparation for the screenings, nurses from Ranney School’s Health Office were trained on equipment usage by scan designer Raymond Watrous, Ph.D. While scans on student-athletes will be performed by school nurses in the Health Office, data collected from each scan are being read and evaluated on-site by Dr. Loyda I. Rivera, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.C.C. Board Certified Pediatric Cardiologist, Pediatric and Fetal Cardiology, from CentraState Medical Center. In the event that Dr. Rivera detects a murmur which warrants further testing, that student’s parents will receive communication from Dr. Rivera that a follow-up evaluation be performed by a pediatric cardiologist of the parent’s choosing in conjunction with the student’s own pediatrician.

    “If we save just one student with this technology, it will be worth it,” said Dr. Rivera. She also emphasized that understanding a student’s extended family medical history is key to understanding a patients risk for SCD. “This screening examination is not a substitute for the student’s regular health care,” explained Dr. Sykoff. “All students and their families should continue to consult regularly with the student’s physician.”


    More Heart-Healthy Happenings Around Campus

    While the launch of the Cardioscan screenings marks an important milestone for the entire Ranney community, Ranney is taking several other steps to educate and promote a healthier lifestyle for students, faculty and staff members. For example, the Athletic Department at Ranney has added various heart-specific lessons to its curriculum.

    Middle and Upper School students recently took part in classes demonstrating heart-healthy workouts and learned how different forms of exercise affect heart rate. With each class separated into three groups, students participated in one exercise every day and rotated throughout the week to see how walking, sprinting and weight lifting contrastingly alter heart rate. Students worked in pairs during the program, administering resting heart rate tests before exercise commenced and immediately after for analysis. Meanwhile, Ranney’s Lower School health curriculum featured classes on play and exercise, knowing one’s body, eating right and more. Supporting all division programs on campus, Ranney School’s nutritional services provided healthy menu selections that included low fat and low sodium choices and introduced vegetarian meal options and organic selections to student menus.

    In an effort to create a healthier lifestyle for faculty and staff members at Ranney, the school offers its Guidone Track for use and provides blood pressure screenings through its Health Office. And for fitness enthusiasts, Ranney is also home to a Running Club, which was established in 2007 and attends several half and full-marathons throughout the year.


    Resources
    The New Jersey Department of Education in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the New Jersey Chapter of the American Heart Association has prepared informational material regarding sudden cardiac death, available online at: http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/safety/health/services/cardiac.pdf.

    View our Flik Dining Website – Includes information on our healthy lunches.


    About Ranney School
    Founded in 1960 and serving more than 800 boys and girls, Beginners (age 3) through grade 12, Ranney School is an independent, college preparatory day school located in historic Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Under its motto "knowledge, vision, honor," Ranney School strives to provide an exceptional academic experience in which every child is known and valued. It emphasizes modern methods of instruction, small class sizes and traditional educational values. For more information, please call Ranney School at 732-542-4777. Press contact: Valerie Francois, Ranney School, 732-542-4777 x.1184 vfrancois@ranneyschool.org

    About Zargis Medical Corp.
    Zargis is a global medical device company focused on improving health outcomes and cost-effectiveness through auscultation software and products. Zargis is majority-owned by Speedus Corp., and both 3M Company and Siemens Corporate Research, a division of Siemens AG (NYSE: SI), hold equity positions. For additional information visit the following websites: www.zargis.com and www.speedus.com.