Chief Executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, commented; “It was very encouraging to welcome so many MPs to our event at Portcullis House and to update them on our campaign. Many of the MPs talked about the impact young sudden cardiac deaths have had on their constituents and the communities they represent. Some had very personal stories of the devastating impact of these tragedies.
“We are continuing to urge all MPs to help establish a national strategy for the prevention of young sudden cardiac death to ensure the government acts to prevent the hundreds of deaths of young people each year from these undiagnosed cardiac conditions.”
Every week, 12 apparently fit and healthy young (aged 35 and under) people in the UK die suddenly from an undiagnosed heart defect. In 80% of these cases, there will have been no signs or symptoms until it is too late, which is why CRY believes screening is so vitally important. Any person aged 14-35 can go to www.testmyheart.org.uk to book an appointment for a free heart screening which includes an ECG. CRY also provides the follow up ultrasound test on the same day. CRY now tests around 30,000 young people each year and well over 190,000 since the screening programme was launched in 1995.
The event was set against the controversial backdrop of the recent news that a revised consultation document from the National Screening Committee (NSC) is set to recommend ‘against’ screening for the risk of sudden cardiac death in the young.
Dr Cox says, “Whilst progress is being made to save young lives, this latest NSC consultation document is very disappointing. It FAILS to demonstrate the impact of young sudden cardiac deaths on our society and does not objectively evaluate the overlap between the current routine use of the ECG in the NHS / medical practice for general diagnostics and monitoring, and its role in cardiac screening. Furthermore, it FAILS to stress that 1 in 300 people screened have a cardiac condition that can benefit from treatment or lifestyle advice.
“As a progressive society it cannot be acceptable that WE FAIL to act in response to the horrendous impact these conditions have on the family, friends and fabric of our local communities when left undiagnosed”.