Preventing loss of life from SADS, Sudden Death
Highlighting cardiac risk in the young through to middle age
Funding lifesaving equipment
Supporting research into SADS
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Screening to prevent sudden death
Each year, infants, children, adolescents, and young adults die suddenly and unexpectedly. For some a post mortem will identify the cause. In other cases a cause of death will not be found. The SADS-related genetic heart diseases of long QT syndrome (LQTS), catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), Brugada syndrome (BrS), and short QT syndrome (SQTS) are the likely cause of death in many of these cases. These heart conditions have caused the heart rhythm to go into an abnormal and chaotic rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia) from which they could not return naturally. These conditions also known as cardiac channelopathies are treatable.
The Warning Signs and possible genetic implications
Can we screen for these channelopathies and thereby prevent tragic occurrences of sudden death? The answer is "yes." In fact, we are screening for these diseases and indeed sudden deaths have been prevented. SADS
Defibrillators to restart the heart
For the other 50% where the sudden cardiac arrest was truly the individual's and their family's first event - rapid access to automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). SADS
In terms of ECG screening, this is a very complex issue. SADS
National Screening Programs
National Screening Committee – response from Chief Medical Officer
I am writing to inform you that the UK National Screening Committee (NSC) has reviewed its policy advice on population screening for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which is one of the main causes of sudden cardiac death in the
The National Screening Committee (NSC) looks at screening programmes individually on a condition by condition basis so at this time we are unable to say what other conditions will be considered during the year or at the same time as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
As you are aware, there is insufficient evidence to introduce a screening programme for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy either for the whole population or for specific subgroups but that it will be reviewed during 2007/08. Unfortunately there is no timescale for this at the moment. Currently we are awaiting the appointment of a new UK NSC Programme Director and it will be at this time when such decisions are made.
The issues you have raised about GPs assisting with a family history evaluation is one that Mike Yates, who I know you know well, is considering at the moment. Mike and his colleagues, patient organisations like SADS
As you will appreciate there are lots of things to consider here, but Mike is pursuing this with his colleagues in the Department of Health. I am sure Mike will keep you informed of progress.
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