Cardiac Risk in the Young heart screening bill

Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) backs bill to improve


Heart campaigners have thrown their support behind a new Private Member's Bill calling for legislation to grant effective, automatic screening on the NHS for all families at high risk of sudden cardiac death syndrome – which currently claims the lives of up to eight, apparently healthy young (under the age of 35) people every week in the UK.

The bill – presented by Stockton South MP, Dari Taylor – was officially unveiled at a cross-party reception at the House of Commons last night (March 10) and has already received widespread backing from MPs across the country. Names from the world of sport – including Ian

Botham, Jeremy Bates and Welsh Rugby star, Rob Jones – are also calling for a change to the law following the sudden deaths of many young people, some whilst taking part in physical exercise.

Immediate screening of all close family members after a sudden death is vital as it is often the only way of identifying genetic faults in the heart and helping to prevent further tragic losses within the same family. The charity strongly believes that many young deaths could be avoided if basic cardiac screening was more widely available.

But reports suggest that many young people at risk – e.g. with a family history of sudden death, after diagnosis in a close relative or having displayed the 'warning signs' such as blackouts – are still not being referred for further tests and are dismissed as 'too young' to have heart problems

CRY is therefore launching six new, pioneering clinics1 across the UK, offering immediate and affordable screening for young people seeking confirmation of the state of their cardiac health – marking the next phase in the charity's ongoing campaign to

raise awareness of this condition.

Chief Exec and Founder of CRY, Alison Cox, adds; "Sudden death in young people can no longer be ignored by health professionals or the government – and this is a great chance for us, as a campaigning charity, to raise the profile of this condition on the political agenda. It could affect anyone – that's why we need to improve access to screening so that people with cause for concern can take steps to prevent it from striking them or their family."

Dari Taylor, MP, adds; "This bill has forced the Department of Health to seriously consider the problem of cardiac death in the young for the first time and the Minister, Melanie Johnson, has been very receptive. With CRY's support, I am confident that we can take some effective action against the tragedy and trauma of Sudden Arrythmic Death Syndrome2." ENDS

Notes to editors

1. Clinics will open the Olympic Medical Institute, Colchester Hospital, Leeds Nuffield Hosptial, Ultrasound Imaging Edinburgh, RJAH Hospital Oswestry and Sandhurst Group Medical Practice. Young people (aged between 14 – 35) will be able to have tests and will be advised of the results. If necessary, follow up help and advice will be provided by CRY experts and their GP informed – although they do not need to have been initially referred by their doctor. People can apply for testing at their nearest clinic via CRY Head Office or download an application form from the CRY website. For a heavily subsidised charge of just £35, people referred to Colchester or Sandhurst can have an ECG (and follow up Echo-cardiogram if an abnormality is detected) or for £200, have an ECG, Echo and consultation with a cardiologist – a fraction of the normal cost.

2.In about one in 20 cases of sudden cardiac death, no recognised cause can be found – even after post-mortem. This is then called Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). Many experts are now claiming that the actual number of deaths could just be 'the tip of the iceberg' with many causes being wrongly recorded as asthma, epilepsy or even drowning