Young people to get free cardiac screening sessions


Claire Reed

Claire Reed’s sudden death has resulted in free cardiac screening sessions . Pic courtesy J.Stott

A free cardiac health screening session for up to a 100 young people will be held at Fleming Park on September 10 thanks to campaigning by a local family.

Eastleigh resident Claire Reed died suddenly in March this year aged only 22.

Tragically, the otherwise healthy accountant had been married only five months.

Her death fits a pattern of premature deaths from undiagnosed cardiac conditions known as sudden adult death syndrome – however a simple and quick ECG test could save the lives of the 12 apparently fit and healthy young people who like Claire, die suddenly each week in the UK according to leading heart charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Claire’s family began campaigning for CRY in tribute to her memory and  thanks to the generosity of local folk, they have so far raised £19,000 – enough to fund several free screening sessions

On 10th September CRY will be holding the first ever ECG screening clinic in Hampshire at Fleming Park Leisure Centre, Passfield Avenue where young people, aged between 14 and 35, can be tested.

Claire’s husband , Andrew Reed says :

‘Claire Reed, was a beautiful, bubbly, kind, caring, fit and healthy 22 year old woman, who enjoyed working out regularly and eating healthy. We are arranging this local screening session to prevent other young lives being taken needlessly, to raise awareness of the condition and to give people a chance to save their own lives.’

Dr Steven Cox, CRY’s Director of Screening explains:

“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 if they continue to participate in sport or take particular medication for example. In 80% of cases, there are no signs or symptoms, which is why cardiac screening is so important.”

An ECG (electrocardiogram) test is a simple way to identify most of these abnormalities. The test is quick and painless. If necessary a further echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) can be taken to provide further clarity.

Dr Cox adds :

“At CRY, we believe screening needs to be extended to all young people. Although screening will not identify all those at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, the incidence of young sudden cardiac death has been reduced by 90%.”

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. Prof. Sharma is a leading expert in cardiac conditions in young people and a heart rhythm specialist.

A ‘black tie’ charity ball is to be held at the Ageas Bowl on August 31 in order to raise more funds for Cry and some tickets are still available – if you are interested in having a great night out while helping a worthwhile cause then please contact organiser Graham Hunter on 01489 785501.

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