A simple and quick ECG test could save the lives of the 12 apparently fit and healthy young (ie aged 35 and under) people that die each week in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions. That’s the message from the leading heart charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
The Lions Club of Felixstowe, following a successful bid for 50% grant funding from Felixstowe Town Council, is delighted to announce that it will be commissioning a CRY screening session in the Felixstowe area at the beginning of 2016. This is the first time the Lions Club has held this type of event – and initially will be open exclusively to young people aged 14 to 15 years old.
The project will help to celebrate the 100 years that Lions International has been in existence (it was started in America in 1916) and it is hoped that 100 children will benefit from coming along or a free screening test (details of how parents can apply for their children to be tested will be announced soon).
An ECG (electrocardiogram) test is a simple way to identify the vast majority of abnormalities that can cause sudden deaths in young and active people. The test is quick, non-invasive and painless and if necessary a further echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) can be taken on the same day to provide further clarity or reassurance.
Dr Steven Cox, CRY’s Director of Screening explains: “The death of a young person is heartbreaking and devastating for any family. It is therefore essential that anyone with a potentially fatal heart condition knows about it. Without this knowledge and, if necessary, appropriate treatment, they could be putting their lives at risk as in 80% of cases there are no signs or symptoms. Sport itself does not actually cause sudden cardiac death but it can significantly increase a young person’s risk if they have an underlying condition.”
Dr Cox adds : “CRY is in its 20th year and we are so proud that our screening programme now tests around 17,000 young people annually. But we still believe screening needs to be extended to all young people. Although screening will not identify all those at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, the incidence of young sudden cardiac death has been reduced by 90%.”
CRY’s screening programme is overseen by Professor Sanjay Sharma, Professor of Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and Sports Cardiology at St George’s Hospital London and the Medical Director of the Virgin London Marathon. Prof. Sharma is a leading expert in cardiac conditions in young people and a heart rhythm specialist.
CRY has launched a hard-hitting, short animation to raise awareness of the impact of young sudden cardiac death. To see it for yourself go to the CRY website, www.c-r-y.org.uk. You will also be able to view a new, hard-hitting video (“Beaten”) which was launched last November, reaching out to a huge audience via social media.
Find out more about the Felixstowe Lions Club on their website here: felixstowelions.org.uk