Charity calls for cardiac checks in NI

A leading local charity has expressed concern that measures to combat sudden cardiac deaths will be introduced in England but not in Northern Ireland.

The Health Secretary, Dr John Reid, recently announced that screening will be introduced for close family members of sudden cardiac death syndrome victims in England. Relatives will be genetically tested for the largely inherited condition, which kills 400 people a year.

However, Andrew Dougal, Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke Association (NICHSA), said it was important that screening was put in place in Northern Ireland for family members of those who suffer sudden cardiac death syndrome.

”People in England are extremely fortunate to have the National Service Framework for Coronary Heart Disease, which has been in place since the year 2000,” Mr Dougal continued. “Many advances have been made in the treatment of heart disease in that country.

”Sadly, such a framework has not been made available in Northern Ireland despite repeated requests from this Association.”

Mr Dougal said the NICHSA was calling on NI's Health Minister, Angela Smyth, to make a commitment that the same screening service will be made available in Northern Ireland.

”The Association also wants to see improved treatment and diagnosis of irregular heart beats as is happening in England,” he concluded.


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