Wednesday 28th April 2010 saw the official launch of the CRY Centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, London.
This is the world’s first specialist, multi-disciplinary centre dedicated to young sudden cardiac death and will operate under the direction of Professor Sanjay Sharma, Professor of Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology at St George’s Hospital. It brings together expertise in general population screening, sports cardiology and inherited cardiovascular disease.
The specialist inherited cardiovascular disease services are managed by Professor Sharma and Dr Elijah Behr – Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist and heart rhythm specialist – who have a team of specialist registrars, nurses and physiologists to provide fast track referral for NHS patients after a young sudden death or when a young person is affected.
One of the first uses of the Centre will be to accommodate the ‘1995’ screening initiative – made possible thanks to a charitable grant from ICAP, the interdealer broker.
This screening initiative – to offer screening to every 14-year-old born in 1995 (the year that CRY was founded) across the South East – is supported by teenager, James Bailey (below, left), who last year (aged just 17) was diagnosed with the potentially fatal heart condition, Wolff-Parkinson White (WPW) syndrome during a CRY screening session held at his school.
A seemingly healthy and active young man, with a passion for football, James’ heart was a ticking timebomb and he could have literally ‘dropped dead’ without warning. But, thanks to screening, his condition was successfully treated – he is now studying for his exams and enjoying life as a normal 18 year old (as well as raising funds for CRY).
Families already affected by sudden cardiac death will also have access to this unique clinic, dedicated to inherited cardiovascular disease and sports cardiology.
The “general population” will be able to access nationwide screening services through the rapidly developing mobile screening programme co-ordinated from this Centre. Elite athletes will attend the world renowned CRY Centre for Sports Cardiology.
Alison Cox MBE, says; “The launch of this Centre is a huge milestone for CRY and takes us another step closer to realising our dream of being able to offer heart testing to all young people in the UK. I founded CRY, in 1995, 15 years ago, so it feels ‘right’ to be offering those young people who were born in that same year the opportunity to be screened by some of the world’s leading experts and to hopefully to be able to reassure them that they are in good health.”
Professor Sharma, adds; “80% of young people have no signs or symptoms and so the only way to detect a potentially sinister cardiac abnormality is by having a simple screening test.”
Experts at the Centre will be able to support teenagers in the journey from screening through to possible diagnosis and treatment and, where necessary, counselling and support, working on the genetics of hereditary cardiac defects and helping families understand their ‘heart history’.
There were a number of speakers at the event, including Professor John Camm (Professor of Clinical Cardiology at St George’s Hospital – pictured right); Professor Sanjay Sharma; CRY supporter James Brown; and CRY Chief Executive, Alison Cox MBE.
The launch was attended by guests from the medical professions, along with many CRY supporters.
There was also strong support from CRY’s Patrons with Jeremy Bates, Nick Easter, Simon Halliday, Pat Jennings and Matt Wells all in attendance
More photos from the launch……