By David Hanson MP / Latest News / / 0 Comments

Supporting Cardiac Risk in the Young

This week I attended an event organised by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to lend his support to the ongoing campaign for a national strategy for the prevention of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD).

50 MPs attended the charity’s first ever ‘drop in’ session, held at Portcullis House, hosted by long term supporter of CRY and Chair of its All-Party Parliamentary Group [APPG], Kevan Jones MP.

The number of MPs who have now signed a pledge to support a national strategy to prevent sudden cardiac death (#MPSupport4CRY) stands at 171.

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.

Delyn Constituency Labour Party recently forwarded a motion to the Welsh Labour Conference on this motion to ensure the issue remains at the top of Labour’s health agenda in Wales.

It is of the utmost importance that we establish a national strategy for the prevention of young sudden cardiac death. It will help us prevent hundreds of deaths of young people each year from these undiagnosed cardiac conditions.

Progress is being made to save young lives, but we should not rest on our laurels. The latest National Screening Committee consultation document is very disappointing. It does not demonstrate the impact of young sudden cardiac deaths in our communities.

With 1 in 300 people who are screened being found to have a cardiac condition it makes sense to ensure that we have a UK wide strategy. The loss of a loved one is always one of the most painful experiences in our lives, but when the death could have been prevented that emotional pain is magnified. The UK Government should tell the National Screening Committee that we need screening now to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths.