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Extend free cardiac screening to prevent child deaths

2 min read

Conservative MP Mims Davies calls for free cardiac screening for all children at 14 and over to bring down the numbers dying from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome. 

All too often it takes tragedy for us to wake up to challenges in our healthcare system. In the UK today the qualifying trigger for free cardiac screening for young people is that there has been a young sudden death in the family. We need to get past the point where the first warning sign for our NHS is a young person’s death. 12, possibly up to 16 depending on coroner report details, young people die every week from undiagnosed heart conditions.

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Extend free cardiac screening to prevent young deaths – leading charity 

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Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) can be found as the cause of death in instances where an expert cardiac pathologist can find no definite cause of death. Up and down the country young people are being lost to these treatable heart conditions. Many of us know families who have been effected by this and in many instances it really is preventable.

We can take action now to reduce this number and stop fatalities from happening. If we offer free cardiac screening to all children at 14 then we will be able to dramatically increase the rate of detection. Many people including constituents of mine have heart conditions caught by these screenings and preventative action taken such as implanting internal defibrillators.

We also need to make sure that there are more community defibrillators in public buildings. Following a cardiac arrest the chance of survival decreases by 23% per minute. AEDs (public access defibrillators) are being installed across the country but there are still too few. All public buildings should have them and businesses should be encouraged to invest in them too. I want to see AEDs treated like fire extinguishers – not just a nice addition but a critical part of any office or community building.

These two measures working together would do much to reduce fatalities. We cannot permit potentially lethal heart conditions to go undiagnosed when we have the technology now for comprehensive screening. At the debate on Tuesday I will be making the simple but crucial point that screening and AEDs save young lives.

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