A simple and quick ECG test could save the lives of the 12 apparently fit and healthy young people that die each week in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions.
That is the message from the leading heart charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
On Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August, CRY will be holding a screening clinic where young people, aged between 14 and 35, can be tested. The clinic will be held in at the University of Ulster, Coleraine in conjunction with the Festival of Football held by the Harry Gregg Foundation.
Representative for CRY in Northern Ireland, John Lundy said: “We are delighted and honoured to be hosting a screening clinic in association with the Harry Gregg Foundation. Harry is a wonderful man and has been very supportive of our efforts with CRY over the years. Young people in Northern Ireland need to be screened and it’s great to see the Harry Gregg Foundation bringing this amazing opportunity to their young players and coaches so that other families might be spared the same heartache that we have endured over the past 17 years since we lost our Aaron. I would encourage all parents that to book their children in for this free, painless test!”
An ECG (electrocardiogram) test is a simple way to identify the vast majority of abnormalities that can cause sudden deaths in young people. The test is quick, non-invasive and, if necessary, a further echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) can be taken on the same day to provide further clarity or reassurance.
Manchester Utd and Northern Ireland legend Harry praised the work of CRY Northern Ireland when urging local young players to sign up for the screening sessions.
“The local representatives of CRY are to be commended in making heart screening accessible to young people in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“I am particularly pleased that they in partnership with the Foundation are facilitating opportunities for young people in the local area to take the health check. An opportunity that many would otherwise not gain through lack of availability or the cost. I hope that all those that are eligible get registered and take advantage of what could be a vital piece of medical intervention”.
Chief Executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, said: “The death of a young person is heartbreaking and devastating for any family. It is therefore essential that anyone with a potentially fatal heart condition knows about it. Without this knowledge and, if necessary, appropriate treatment, they could be putting their lives at risk as in 80% of cases there are no signs or symptoms.
CRY’s screening programme is overseen by Professor Sanjay Sharma, Professor of Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and Sports Cardiology at St George’s Hospital London and the Medical Director of the Virgin London Marathon.
The booking of appointments is currently being processed via all of the youth football clubs who are associated with Foundation programmes. This is prior to being made available to the general public via firstname.lastname@example.org.