Heart screening clinic for young

A heart screening clinic for children and young adults is being held later this month.

It will help to pick up previously undetected heart conditions which, if left untreated, could lead to sudden cardiac death in young people who appear to be fit and healthy.

The clinic, on Saturday, July 22,is a joint initiative between Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust – which runs Colchester General Hospital – and the national charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (Cry).

Heart screening has been taking place at the hospital since May 2004 and is offered to young people aged between 14 and 35.

It is estimated that about eight people under the age of 35 die as a result of an undetected heart condition every week.

Since it started, about 400 people have been screened and between ten and 15 were recalled for further checks – about four or five were found to have minor abnormalities, which have been treated successfully with medication.

Often sudden cardiac death is triggered by physical exertion, particularly among people who play high-level sports, but others can experience palpitations, fainting or breathlessness. Others may experience no symptoms at all.

For the cost of £35, each young person will receive an electrocardiogram, which takes about ten minutes and involves taping electrical leads from the machine to the chest, legs and arms to make a record of the heart's activity.

The EGG and a questionnaire filled in by everyone who is screened are sent to cardiologists in London, who are specialists in sudden cardiac death.

Appointments will be held between 9am and 2pm.

Anyone wishing to book should contact Caroline Gard, a divisional officer for Cry, on 01255 673598, instead of contacting the hospital directly.