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General Information on Cardiac Screening

There is a simple way to diagnose most cardiac abnormalities. This is by having an ECG (electrocardiogram) test. Results should be read by a cardiologist. For extra clarity an Echocardiogram (ultrasound scan - right) can also be done.

If there has been a young (under 35) sudden death in the family, the family is entitled to be screened on the NHS.

Click here if you or anyone in your family (aged 14 to 35) would like to be screened

 

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC 2005) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) recommend cardiac screening for any young person taking part in competitive sport. Sport itself does not lead to cardiac arrest, but can trigger a sudden death by aggravating an undetected cardiac abnormality. In countries such as Italy, screening participants in representative sports is mandatory. In some professions cardiac testing is also mandatory.

 

CRY offers subsidised ECG and Echocardiogram screening to all young people between the ages of 14 and 35.  Click here for more details about CRY's Screening Clinics

Please note - online booking for CRY screening events will close at midday (12pm) the day before the screening event.  For weekend screening events (Saturday or Sunday) online booking will close at midday on the preceding Friday.

 

SCREENING means having:

An Electrocardiogram (ECG), which looks at  the electrical conduction pathways around the heart.

Small stickers known as electrodes are placed on the client's chest and the wires connect to an ECG machine whilst you lie still.

A printout of the heart's electrical activity is obtained for evaluation by the cardiologist.

This test is painless, non-invasive and takes only a few minutes to perform.


An Echocardiogram (Echo) is an ultrasound test (such as offered to pregnant women) which looks at the structure of the heart.

From the information provided on screen, measurements are taken which give a guide to muscle thickness and size of the chambers of the heart.

Again, this test is non-invasive and painless; and it takes approximately 20 minutes to perform.


The tests are performed with the client lying down on a couch or bed. For both tests clients will need to be undressed to the waist.

 

 
CRY Patron Lawrence Okoye has an ECG and Echo

For further details of the various cardiac tests including diagrams please go to cardiac tests
 

Professor Sanjay Sharma's comments in response to a report published by the UK National Screening Committee
(UK NSC) in November 2008

 

International Olympic Committee (IOC) Consensus Statement on Periodic Health Evaluation of Elite Athletes - March '09

The scope of the cardiovascular PHE is to detect potentially lethal cardiovascular disease in elite athletes and start appropriate management to reduce the risk for sudden cardiac death and/or disease progression in a timely fashion.


Screening will:

  • Identify most cardiac abnormalities. At least 12 young people die suddenly each week in the UK of previously undetected heart problems.

  • Raise awareness of symptoms amongst coaches and physiotherapists.

  • Raise awareness throughout sport of the risk of Sudden Death Syndrome / Sudden Cardiac Death and highlight the families that are most at risk - particularly those that have already had a young sudden cardiac death in the family and who might not be aware that other family members must be screened.

  • Encourage young people to take better care of their heart/health in a broader sense.

  • Reassure parents who are well aware that these tragedies occur and often cannot gain access to further information at a time when there are increasing demands on physical fitness in all high profile sports.
     

We recommend that screening is requested via your GP if there have been any young sudden deaths in the family. Or if there are symptoms of:

  • Chest Pain (exercise related)
  • Severe Breathlessness
  • Palpitations
  • Prolonged Dizziness
  • Fainting/Blackouts

 

If you are an elite athlete (represent your country in sport) we also recommend that you should consider screening.
 

It must be emphasised that if a diagnosis of a cardiac condition is confirmed it can have serious implications with regard to life insurance and mortgage applications.

 

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