What test will I have and how long will it take? What will they be looking for?


Screening for cardiac diseases can be a complex situation but we are trying to adopt a cost effective screening programme and this screening programme comprises of a health questionnaire which enquires specifically about the cardinal symptoms of cardiac diseases such as chest pain, breathlessness, dizziness, palpitations or black outs and also importantly enquires about family history of cardiac conditions, because most conditions that cause sudden death in young people are hereditary – by that I mean they are genetically transmitted from one person to another so the family history’s very important.
That is usually followed by a 12 lead ECG which is an electrical tracing of the heart that is designed to look for electrical faults of the heart and to raise suspicion of the cardiomyopathies. So the whole process doesn’t take long and in many situations, the individual can be reassured on the spot, a small number of people, I would say 4%, need further tests. Of these 4%, 0.2% have a serious problem, about 1% have a minor problem and the other 2.8% can be reassured.