Free Screening To Save Young Lives

10 September 2013, 08:07 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Claire Reed from Botley died earlier this year when her heart suddenly stopped beating.

Since the 22-year-old's death in March - from what is known as Sudden Adult Death Syndrome - her family have been campaigning for more screening for young people.

The charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) says 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.

Claire's family have been raising money to hold a free screening with CRY at Fleming Park Leisure Centre, Passfield Avenue, in Eastleigh.

Up to 100 young people, aged between 14 and 35, are being tested today (Tuesday 10 September).

Claire's husband, Andrew Reed said:

"Claire Reed, was a beautiful, bubbly, kind, caring, fit and healthy 22 year old woman, who enjoyed working out regularly and eating healthy. Claire passed away suddenly on 9 March 2013, just five months after her dream wedding, due to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

"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%."