Screening saves lives

Isle of Man Examiner – 13th January 2009
By Rebecca Richardson

People in the 14 to 35 age group are being urged to take advantage of free heart screenings.

Craig’s Heartstrong Foundation is holding its third annual heart screening weekend in association with Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) on February 7 and 8 at the Hilton Hotel, Douglas.

So far 310 people have signed up to be screened – leaving 50 spaces available.

Two previous screening weekends led to more than 700 people being checked.

Foundation chairman Paul Healey explained: “The machine used to carry out the screenings is called an electrocardiogram (ECG).

‘This is a vey simple procedure. Small patches called electrodes are stuck to the arms, chest and legs. They enable the doctor to see if there is any damage to the heart, how fast the heart is beating and whether it is beating normally.’

The findings are kept confidential and the charity can offer support should anything be found to be wrong.

‘We don’t want people to be tested, and think that is all we can do – we have helped people in the past to see specialists in the UK’ said Mr Healey.

The results of the ECG are passed to the individual’s doctor.

The charity wants to attract those aged between 14 and 35 to the screenings. ‘It is because we use the charity CRY to carry out the screenings – we cannot screen anyone outside of this age bracket,’ said Mr Healey.

For those who may be undecided about the value of the screenings, he said:’ The only thing I would say is read the story about Daniel Oram, who came to our first screening and was found to have a hole in his heart.

‘He has since had surgery and has made a full recovery. His life has been saved by attending our painless, free, heart screenings.’

Screenings detect abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), cardiac muscle defects, congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease, ectopic heartbeat, enlargement of the heart, a faster than normal heart rate (tachycardia), heart valve disease, inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), changes in the number of electrolytes (chemicals in the blood), evidence of a past heart attack, present or impending heart attack and slower-than-normal heart rate (bracycardia).

To book a screening visit and follow the links.

Craig’s Heartstrong Foundation is a Manx charity, established primarily by the Lunt family in memory of their 25-year-old son, Craig, whose death in April 2005 was due to a previously undiagnosed heart defect.

CRY was founded in 1995 to raise awareness of conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac and sudden death syndrome.