Thanks to generous donors and volunteers, Providence Heart Institute’s youth heart screening program, Play Smart, reached a milestone this fall when it screened its 10,000th child. Congenital heart disease is a leading cause of sudden death in young people. Some of these conditions can strike without warning, frequently during or just after athletic play. Play Smart’s free screenings aim to prevent them.

Program founder, cardiologist James Beckerman, M.D., explains, “These conditions are rare. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, but a needle that can kill you. When they strike, the consequences can be devastating.” The program also alerts students to high blood pressure and other conditions.

Play Smart is the largest and only year-round program of its kind in Oregon. Free screenings are provided at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and through partnerships with Portland Parks and Recreation and the region’s school districts.

“This is only possible because of donor support – and we are so grateful,” says Dr. Beckerman. You can find more information here.