Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes. SCA in the young is very rare but devastating when it occurs. It not only affects families and friends but also whole communities.
In Ireland approximately 100 young people (under 35) die yearly from SCA. This number is believed to be higher in reality due to “unexplained deaths”.
The causes of sudden cardiac arrest vary. The older the person is the more likely the cause was due to coronary artery disease (blockages to the blood supply of the heart muscle). In younger sufferer’s the cause if far more likely to be either a structural or electrical problem with the heart itself.
Sometimes an individual may have a cardiac abnormality without having symptoms. Screening is aimed at identifying people with cardiomyopthies or electrical faults of the heart.
Many governing bodies in sport now support the screening for sudden cardiac arrest. FIFA, The International Olympic Committee, The International Federation for Cyclists, Union Cyclist International (UCI), The European Society of Cardiology, GAA’s Medical Scientific and Welfare Committee and many other bodies are recommending screening for cardiac abnormalities in all sports participants.
You should rest for at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment. Avoid stimulants including tea, coffee and alcohol 24 hours prior to the ECG.
Young people wishing to be tested, who are under the age of 16, must seek written permission from a parent or guardian. We recommend that a patent or guardian is present when the person being tested is under 16 years of age.
We recommend individuals between 14-35 years of age.
It is recommended that everyone should be screened regardless of activity levels.
The majority of cardiac abnormalities that re most likely to affect young people will be identified. However some conditions may not be identified. These will include coronary artery stenosis.
According to guidelines screening is recommended every two years.
12 Lead Electrocardiogram ECG - by a qualified cardiac physiologist. An ECG is a simple non invasive painless test that examines the electrical activity within your heart. It involves lying down quietly and takes 5-10 minutes only.
Full Physical examination by a qualified sports physician
Referral of abnormal ECGs to a consultant cardiologist with a special interest in the field
Based on consultant advice approximately 5-10% of people will be referred to hospitals for an echo cardiogram (Ultrasound of the heart). Most of these cases will be normal. The cost of this is not covered in the screening fee.
Before deciding on whether to take part in the cardiac screening programme, you may like to consider the benefits and disadvantages, and think about what is important to you.
Undetected heart conditions affect about 1 in 300 people. Our tests are able to detect the majority of cardiac abnormalities most likely to affect young people.
In the event that a cardiac abnormality is diagnosed you must be aware that this may affect certain mortgage applications, particular types of life assurance and it may also affect some careers.
Cost of Screening starting from 85 euro ← back to services