Heart Condition Could Cause Sudden Death to Young Athletes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Heart Condition Could Cause Sudden Death to Young Athletes

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KENNEWICK, Wash- Many young athletes may be at risk of sudden death from a heart condition that most don't even know they have.

It's called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy also known as HCM and it can be detected through a heart screening. 

About one person out of every 1,000 has this condition. What happens is you have an abnormal growth of muscle tissue around the heart. Intense exercise can cause someone with this problem to drop dead. 

Wednesday, Action Echo, a local heart screening clinic, gave screenings to young athletes from around the Tri-Cities at Kamiakan High School. Across America HCM causes about one high school athlete death a month.

"Most people don't know that they have it, so what we're doing is trying to identify those people who do have it so that they can make the changes that need to be made in order to live a relatively normal life," said Dr. Daniel Niendorff, Action Echo.

It is possible for someone to develop hcm at an older age. Getting regular screenings is important to make sure you are not at risk. Not everyone with HCM has symptoms. Signs of the condition include chest pains, passing out, and swelling of the ankles or shins.