Supporting a Research on Cardiopathy among Youth and Children

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: June 2010 - Project end date: September 2011
Project number: 2010-22

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Conference - September 28, 2010

On September 28, 2010 at the Sala Zuccari of Palazzo Giustiniani in Rome, the Association Osservatorio Sanità e Salute chaired by Sen. Cesare Cursi, in collaboration with the Association Cuore di Roma Onlus, promoted the conference entitled "The Heart of Our Young."
The main theme of the meeting was the importance of education campaigns to early identify and prevent congenital heart diseases and correct cardiovascular risk factors from an early age.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in Italy (44% of deaths recorded each year), well above the percentage attributable to all tumors (28.4%). Over 50,000 people a year in Italy are affected by sudden death due to malignant cardiac arrhythmias. Of these, about 5,000 die suddenly at a young age because of congenital arrhythmogenic diseases. Disorders that often remain silent for several years or are not diagnosed in time.
Prof. Massimo Santini, Director of the Department of Cardiovascular Diseases at San Filippo Neri Hospital in Rome and President of the Association Cuore di Roma Onlus, believes that the early identification of congenital heart diseases is crucial to target young people towards a proper course of treatments, avoiding the serious consequences that can be determined from these diseases.
Cuore di Roma Onlus has made a feasibility study in a middle school of Rome, which involved 549 children who underwent an electrocardiogram. The ECG showed cardiac anomalies in 9% of the sample. Anomalies that in some cases can lead to serious arrhythmias, sometimes causing sudden deaths. In these cases, children were subjected to further investigations.
This preliminary study will continue with the program funded by the Nando Peretti Foundation, which will cover 10,000 more children, still of school age.
The conference was attended, among others, by the Minister for Youth, Giorgia Meloni, who underlined the importance of promoting a healthier lifestyle among young people. Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are becoming increasingly popular among teenagers and they are accompanied by a poor diet and little physical exercise, along with the abuse of videogames and other sedentary entertainment and with the use of alcohol and drugs. According to Prof. Santini, overweight, unregulated food, lack of physical activity and abuse of alcohol are important cardiovascular risk factors that, combined with congenital heart diseases, in a few years may lead inevitably to a stroke.

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