The momentum of Cazfest continues.
There have been numerous fund raising events held in support of Cazfest and there are more to come. These fundraising events, combined with the net proceeds from the Music Festival, allow us to finance our efforts to raise awareness of heart risk in the young . We have now embarked on a programme of heart screening in local schools with over 500 pupils screened so far. A number of these screenings have identified potential problems which have been successfully treated.
Screening works and it IS vitally important.
Take a look at our News & Articles page to see the BBC News Look East report.
What is a ECG Test?
An Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test which looks at the electrical conduction pathways around the heart.
Small stickers known as electrodes are placed on the client’s chest and the wires from the electrodes connected to an ECG machine whilst you lie still .
A printout of the heart’s electrical activity is obtained for evaluation by the cardiologist.
The test is painless, non-invasive and takes just a few minutes to perform.
There has been much written in the press regarding the tragic events at White Hart Lane on March 17th 2012 when Bolton player Fabrice Muamba collapsed after suffering a cardiac arrest. The following article by health expert Dr Christian Jessen (Originally published in the London Evening Standard) gives a clear explanation of the likely causes – and also makes a strong case for a programme of heart screening to help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.
Health expert Dr Christian Jessen explains why the Bolton footballer collapsed
“I don’t follow football but I do now know the name Fabrice Muamba. Just starting to talk again, he is still in a critical condition as he recovers from a cardiac arrest that occurred during a match on Saturday. Medical staff took two hours to get Muamba’s heart working again and it is now beating without the aid of medications.
But Muamba is certainly not the first athlete to suffer such a devastating event. In 2003 Marc-Vivien Foé, a Manchester City player, collapsed and died during a game and in fact every week in the UK, around 12 seemingly fit and healthy young people die from undiagnosed cardiac conditions. The culprit is usually an inherited condition causing an alectrical or physical defect and counter-intuitively can be exacerbated by high levels of fitness; research has suggested people are twice as likely to suffer a cardiac arrest if they play sport at a high level.
Whilst it has not been confirmed many suspect that Muamba (like Foé) may suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes the muscle walls of the heart to thicken, impeding its ability to function. Hard physical training will usually make it worse which explains why footballers and other athletes are far more susceptible than the average man.
It’s probably one of the most common heart conditions seen in young men but thankfully is still rare, affecting around 1 in 500 of the UK population. It’s a genetic condition that is passed on through families. The cardiac arrests that have been seen as a result of HCM are often a direct result of the patient’s lifestyles and training levels.
It can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations and light-headedness, but many are completely unaware they have any problem. A small number of people are at risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm that can be life threatening. For Foé, his first symptom was sudden death.
I am aware this all sounds rather too much in the hands of the gods, but it is possible to screen for these conditions. Most heart abnormalities can be diagnosed with an ECG, an electrical study of the heart, and followed up with an ultrasound scan showing its structure and function.
The Italians were among the first to start screening their athlete’s hearts for signs of this condition and now all young people who play sport in Italy are required by law to undergo annual check-ups. This has resulted in a significant reduction in deaths from HCM. Unfortunately the UK is still lagging behind and no such government screening program exists. No screening program is perfect, and screens may have missed Muamba’s condition, but many more would be picked up and horrific public collapses of super fit young men and women could be avoided. Perhaps with the Olympics looming, and the super-fit about to descend on our country in droves, now would be a good time to put something into practice? ”
Our sincere thanks to Dr Jessen for giving us permission to reproduce this