Health Watch: Long QT Syndrome

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The discovery of a heart condition in young people used to mean "benching" from them sports for good.

But doctors have found a way to keep kids in the game, despite their diagnosis.

Tyler Lajko has a heart condition called Long QT Syndrome which, if triggered by a lot of exertion or even surprise, can be dangerous or worse. So, he's just playing golf when he'd rather be involved in team. "In patients with Long QT Syndrome, the heart takes longer than normal to relax," pediatric cardiologist Dr. Peter Aziz said. "The issue with that is while it s relaxing, taking a long time to relax, that can lead to arrhythmias, which can be life-threatening."

But Dr. Aziz's research team has Tyler back on the basketball court. They studied more than 100 kids with Long QT Syndrome who played more aggressive sports, took beta blockers and played while coaches and parents were aware of their condition.

"Just being able to shoot around, you know, knocking down that three was good," Lajko said. "It felt good."

Aziz said letting them play is not without risk, but it's a calculated one. "We're trying to figure out a way to balance both, keep them safe but at the same time, keep them participating, keep them feeling normal."

Tyler is careful. He takes the beta blockers even though they make him tired. And his friends all know how to use the defibrillator and he's already eyeing his high school baseball team.

"Don't let it hold you back and what it gives you, you take it and go," Lajko said.
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