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updated: 6/10/2013 11:49 AM

3 teens from Central American get treatment at Barrington hospital

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Daily Herald report

Three teenagers from El Salvador will receive free medical treatment this week for their heart conditions at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, hospital officials announced Monday.

Jose, 14, Jasmine, 16, and Cecilia, 14, arrived at O'Hare International Airport last week and were placed with host foster families in Arlington Heights, Elmhurst and Lake in the Hills. They will be seen Thursday and Friday for initial testing and procedures by Dr. Raymond Kawasaki, a cardiac electrophysiologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital.

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Each of the three children suffers from an arrhythmia, which is a problem with the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body which can damage vital organs. Symptoms include weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness; shortness of breath or chest pain.

"We will be doing a procedure called an electrophysiology study with catheter ablation where we insert thin electrode catheters into blood vessels which are then guided to the heart," Kawasaki said in a news release. "We then identify the abnormal heart tissue which is causing the arrhythmia and destroy it by applying heat or freezing energy through one of these catheters. Once this is done, the patient can be cured of their arrhythmia. "

This medical mission was arranged by Healing the Children, a charity devoted to matching children in need from countries lacking available medical treatment, with physicians and hospitals in the United States willing to donate their services. Healing the Children also organizes medical missions to Third World countries.

"We anticipate these three children can be treated for their abnormal heart rhythms and hope to give them an opportunity to live a normal life," Kawasaki said.

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