OUR SCHOLARSHIP WINNER

Matthew Kostycz, Age 18 Matthew is attending Rockland Community College. We chose Matthew because he embodied all the qualifications. Matthew lives with autism the same way Kyle did. He volunteers with Special Olympics. He gives back to the community. When I read his application I honestly believed with all my heart that Kyle chose him. He reminded us so much of Kyle. We believed it was a sign from Kyle. We could not have found a better recipient for the first Kyle Honan Memorial Scholarship. .

WHAT IS CARDIOMYOPATHY?

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. It makes it harder for the heart to fill with blood and to pump blood. Cardiomyopathy is a major cause of heart failure and one of the most common conditions leading to heart transplantation. The condition can also cause abnormal heart rhythms. Cardiomyopathy can affect people of all ages and races. One of the major advances in our understanding of cardiomyopathies is the use of genetic testing. This allows us to identify the specific genetic mutations that lead to the disease and detect mutation carriers even before the disease begins. Advanced imaging techniques also allow to identify problems with the heart muscle and plan the best treatment possible. In addition, new drugs are being developed to treat patients with some forms of cardiomyopathy.

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CAUSES OF CARDIAC ARREST / DEATH

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is the condition in which the heart unexpectedly ceases to function.  Often, this is because of irregular and rapid quivering of the heart’s lower pumping chambers (ventricles) called ventricular fibrillation. When this occurs, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs, causing loss of consciousness or seizure-like activity in seconds. There are many different causes of cardiac arrest and even death. Some structural causes are:

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD)is a form of cardiomyopathy in which the heart muscle of the right ventricle is replaced by fatty-fibrous tissue. The scar tissue interrupts the normal smooth sequence of electrical activity that causes the heart muscle to contract, leading to arrhythmias. The weakened muscle will stretch, producing an enlarged right ventricle, which may not pump as effectively as a heart without ARVD. ARVD is often inherited.

Coronary Artery Abnormalities (CAA) is an abnormality or malformation of the coronary artery, a blood vessel that supplies blood to the heart muscle. This condition is present at birth, but can be silent for years until vigorous exercise is performed. During exercise, blood flow to the heart muscle can be impaired and result in ventricular fibrillation.

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