Centre identifies cardiac problems in young

CARDIAC problems were identified in one in 10 young people with a family history of heart disease who attended a specialist treatment centre last year.

They were assessed at the Centre for Cardiovascular risk in Younger Persons at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin that opened just more than a year ago.

Cardiac disease in young people is mostly due to inherited heart disease and it is conservatively estimated that more than 10,000 people in Ireland carry genes for inherited heart disease.

According to the centre’s first annual report, 1,380 patients were assessed last year, with a further 1,500 expected to be evaluated this year.

About one in five patients who attended the centre were young people with no family history of cardiac disease or sudden death.

The young people had experienced symptoms such as unexplained blackouts, palpitations or who experienced unusual chest discomfort or shortness of breath with exercise.

Chairman of the CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) Michael Greene’s son, Peter, died suddenly in 1996. He was just 15 and his family had no idea he had an underlying heart condition.

He and his wife, Marie, established CRY in 2002 to support families where there was a sudden death and raise awareness of cardiac death in the young.

He said the deaths of Cormac McAnallen, the Tyrone GAA football captain and John McCall, an under-19 rugby player in March 2004 increased awareness of sudden cardiac death.

The screening service for patients referred by their GP or consultant is free and the evaluation is completed on the same day.

Mr Greene said more than 50% of patients seen were confirmed as normal with no significant risk of sudden death after one visit.

The cost of maintaining the centre over the next three years is expected to cost up to €1 million.

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