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34 July 17 - Aug. 6, 2010 Publisher’sNote


Vacation state of mind


‘Tis the season when many SanTan Sun area residents, weary of the hot temperatures are


gettin’ outta Dodge and fleeing for cooler climes. Whether it’s the popular San Diego, kid-friendly Disneyland or a shorter trip just a few hours north to Flagstaff, it’s amazing how just a little time out of the desert heat can make the rest of the summer seem a little more tolerable.


While most people outside of Arizona consider “summer” to be from mid-May to August, here in Chandler, “year-round” school is back in session in just a couple of weeks. Instead of the usual back-to- school story, Miriam Van Scott takes a look at the financial impact for cash- strapped families sending kids to school. She also checked on the status of before- and after-school programs, and whether parents are able to afford them in this down economy. We also start a series on leadership changes taking place in Chandler, from the City to the Chamber. Kelli Lang talks with Ann Siner of the popular “gently-used” stores such as My Sister’s Closet, My Sister’s Attic and more to see how they’re doing.


Joan Westlake checks out Murphy’s Law Irish Pub and La Fonda restaurants for you, and Miachelle DePiano writes about Laguna Laser in our Business profile, and about Results Fitness. We’ll also have an election preview in our Chandler Insider from the City of Chandler.


So where are you going this summer? Send us a vacation shot of you and/ or your family wherever your travels take you – even if it’s only at your backyard pool – and we’ll use them as space permits. Make sure they are high resolution jpg images of 300 dpi, and send to Laurie@SanTanSun.com. Send us your names, tell us what community in Chandler or Gilbert you live in and tell us a little about your trip and what the temperatures were – maybe it’ll make us all feel just a little cooler.


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Opinion Community


by Christine Puricelli, Brooks Ranch, Parent Heart Watch member Each year an estimated 325,000 people die in the United States from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). Of that number, the Heart Rhythm Society estimates about 7,000 of these deaths are in children and infants.


On Aug. 30, 1997, my seemingly healthy 22-year-old daughter, Emilie, died suddenly in her sleep from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.


We immediately began to ask ourselves, how a beautiful, healthy young woman could possibly just go to bed and die in such a mysterious manner. To say we were in shock or grief stricken would hardly describe the scenario with any justice. Losing a child is probably the hardest thing we as humans have to face in our lifetimes. An autopsy showed no


Commentary Parents: Be aware of sudden cardiac arrest SUBMITTED photo


UNDETECTED AILMENT: Emilie Puricelli, 22, died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest when an electrical conduction defect in the heart called Long QT Syndrome went undetected until after her death.


real cause of death other than “Acute Cardiac Arrhythmia.” Her toxicology report was totally negative. The Medical Examiner offered our family no other information as to a cause of death. Our only clue was on her second day of life she had been observed having a “seizure,” and one nurse told us she appeared somewhat “blue.” She was found to have a slightly low calcium level, and was treated with IV calcium with no further problems or explanation.


Starting in grade school, Emilie “fainted” with pain, emotion or fear, but probably only a total of three or four times. Then around ninth grade, she began describing her heart as feeling like it was “going crazy” during intense exercise drills for the basketball team, like running bleachers. She also had no tolerance for caffeine. Again she felt it made her heart beat irregularly.


Emilie saw two adult cardiologists, but her tests were interpreted as normal. The cardiologist’s explanation was that she was tall and thin, and that she was just feeling irregular heartbeats that we all have at times, but are of no real clinical significance. Unfortunately we accepted this diagnosis.


One day in high school she fainted and fell out of her desk in class. Since she had already seen two cardiologists, the doctor was not concerned. If it happened again, then possibly further evaluation would be considered.


La Laurie Fagen, Publisher aurie Fagen, Publisher


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We now know – hindsight is always 20-20 – because she was only in about ninth-grade at the time, she should have seen a pediatric cardiologist. She had seen an adult cardiologist. I might add that lots more is known about Congenital Long QT Syndrome now, than back in 1990, when Emilie had her cardiac testing.


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After her death, a cardiac researcher and specialist at the Sarver Heart Center in Tucson, Dr. Frank Marcus, found something suspicious on her Holter monitor test. We were referred to another cardiac research doctor, Dr. Arthur J. Moss at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y. and we learned about genetic testing that was available. The QT Interval on her ECG was also read as being prolonged. The QT Interval is the time needed for re-polarization or kind of a “recharging” of the heart between beats. Our immediate family was also tested. We learned that my husband and I both have a gene for an electrical conduction defect in the heart called Long QT Syndrome. My two living children, now ages 33 and 31, also tested positively for this gene.


My extended family was also tested. All my siblings tested negative, as did my parents. It would seem that I was the beginning of the gene mutation on my side of the family. My husband’s gene is one associated with Long QT Syndrome, but more specific for cardiac arrhythmias in general.


Congenital Long QT Syndrome is a very treatable cardiac condition. Depending on the severity and the type of Long QT Syndrome, it can be treated with beta blocker drugs, by avoiding a long list of drugs known to prolong the QT Interval (these lists of drugs can be found at www.qtdrugs. org), possibly restricting the child or young adult from competitive participation in sports because of the added stress of competition & adrenalin surges on the heart, and if necessary an ICD or implantable cardiac defibrillator can be implanted in the person’s chest.


When a family knows they have Congenital Long QT Syndrome, very simple measures can help keep the person with the gene and symptoms at less risk. At the dentist, a local anesthesia with less cardiac effects can be used and for minor surgical procedures, making sure there is no epinephrine in the local anesthetic, and avoiding the drugs that can affect QT Interval is of utmost importance.


Electrolyte imbalance is also to be avoided, as are all situations that would deliberately stimulate an adrenalin surge like scary rides at theme parks, haunted houses, deliberately scaring a person, alarm clocks, competitive sports, etc. Exercise can still be done, but according to very specific guidelines from the cardiologist


See Community Commentary Page 35


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