New clinic for young heart patients
A HOSPITAL will todayunveil a new screening clinic aimed at detecting undiagnosed life threatening cardiac conditions in young people.The electrocardiogram (ECG) unit at Colchester General Hospital is a joint initiative involving the national charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust.
A HOSPITAL will todayunveil a new screening clinic aimed at detecting undiagnosed life threatening cardiac conditions in young people.
The electrocardiogram (ECG) unit at Colchester General Hospital is a joint initiative involving the national charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust.
The clinic will be open to anyone between the ages of 14 and 35 wanting confirmation on the state of their heart.
First to be tested will be four16-year-old apprentices from Colchester United Football Club.
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Other guests at the opening include Labour MP for Harwich and member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for CRY Ivan Henderson and Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester Bob Russell.
The driving force behind the clinic, the first involving CRY at an NHS hospital, is Caroline Gard, of Glebe Way, Frinton-on-Sea, whose 17-year-old son Andy died of sudden cardiac death syndrome in 1997.
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Her ambition is for routine heart screening to be offered to every 14-year-old in the same way that the NHS offers regular cervical and breast screening to women in certain age groups.
She said: "Many of the young people who die are like my son in that they did not have any symptoms at all, whereas others may experience palpitations, fainting or breathlessness.
"Sometimes death seems to be triggered by physical exertion, which is why some victims have died during or after sporting activity.
"For this reason Colchester United are always keen to have their young footballers checked."
For the subsidised cost of £35 people who attend the clinic will have electrical leads from an ECG machine taped to the chest, legs and arms in order to make a recording of the electrical activity of their heart.
The ECG will then be sent to Dr Sanjay Sharma, consultant cardiologist at The Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust.
If there is an abnormality it may be possible to take steps, such as surgery or fitting of a specialised pacemaker.
Dr Kare Tang, consultant cardiologist at Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust, said: "This is an excellent screening programme and I would like to see these types of clinic set up across the NHS. That is where the expertise in screening and technology can be found."
Alison Cox, chief executive and founder of CRY, added: "The opening of this new clinic is an important and exciting moment for CRY and represents a real milestone in our ongoing battle to prevent the number of young lives lost to sudden cardiac death increasing.
"The hard work and dedication of Caroline is an inspiration to us all."
Anybody interested in being screened should contact CRY on 01255 673598.