Charity secures free heart screening for young people in Wales

A leading heart charity in Wales has secured free heart screening for children and adults throughout Wales thanks to a new partnership with a cardiac diagnostic company based at Swansea University.

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Welsh Hearts Calonnau Cymru, the charity which provides better access to life-saving defibrillators and CPR training across Wales, has teamed up with Swansea University spin-out company Cardiac Health Diagnostics to launch a new heart screening service throughout Wales open to children over five years old, as well as adults.

The new service ‘Heart Screening Wales’ aims to raise awareness of undiagnosed heart conditions by providing easily accessible screening services to communities in Wales.

Ian Gough, former Wales and Ospreys rugby star and patron of Welsh Hearts Cymru, is also putting his weight behind the initiative to help raise awareness of the importance of heart screening amongst young people.

Statistics show that around 600 young people die unexpectedly each year in the UK because of an undetected heart problem. The new partnership will enable screening of around 100 people during each session at locations throughout Wales using non-invasive ECG testing.

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Sharon Owen, Founder and Director of Welsh Hearts Cymru, said: “We cannot thank Professor Lewis and his team at Cardiac Health Diagnostics enough for collaborating with us to make this programme sustainable. Many people still associate heart disease and heart attacks with older people, but this is sadly not the case as the alarming number of young people dying from heart conditions shows. Thanks to this exciting new partnership we can make a massive difference and we will save lives of people in Wales.”

 

The ‘Heart Screening Wales’ sessions will take place on a monthly basis throughout all areas of Wales. A £10 donation to Welsh Hearts is requested at the time of booking to help them continue to fund the project.

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Commenting on the new partnership, Professor Michael Lewis, Professor of Cardiovascular Diagnostic Technology at Swansea University and Director at Cardiac Health Diagnostics, said: “We are delighted to have established this relationship with Welsh Hearts Calonnau Cymru. It is extremely rewarding to be helping in the drive to identify heart problems in children and young adults. CHD was established to help translate our research and clinical expertise into a diagnostic service that could potentially have a marked impact on a young person’s life. We believe that our collaboration in providing this screening service will have a significant role in helping to reduce the number of sudden, unexpected heart problems in this population.”

For more heart screening dates and locations visit: www.welshhearts.org/heartscreeningwales

i) Founded in 2013 and with all funds raised remaining within Wales, Welsh Hearts Cymru is saving lives by providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, heart screening and public access defibrillators to thousands of people across Wales.

ii) Based in Cardiff, Patrons of Welsh Hearts Cymru include Roger Lewis (CEO of Cardiff Airport) and composer Sir Karl Jenkins CBE, and celebrities including Max Boyce, Ian Gough, Ruth Madoc, Sue Charles, Lloyd Burns, Chris Needs, Ceri Dupree and Owen Money.

iii) Professor Lewis’ research team is based in the College of Engineering at Swansea University and specialises in the development of novel methods for assessing heart function and its control by the body’s nervous system. Over the past 20 years the team has conducted and published research on cardiovascular functional assessment in a range of healthy and diseased populations.

iv) Heart screening involves the completion of a cardiac risk questionnaire and having an ECG, a painless non-invasive test that provides information that can be used to identify problems within the heart.

v) Some people may also need an echocardiogram, a painless ultrasound test, similar to that which pregnant women have, looking at the structure of the heart.

vi) All tests are reviewed by a cardiologist. In the eventuality that an abnormality is found the results will be discussed fully and information provided to take to GPs for further investigation and treatment.

Caption 1: L-r: Mr Chris James, Director at Cardiac Health Diagnostics (CHD), Ian Gough, Patron of Welsh Hearts Cymru, Sharon Owen Director of Welsh Hearts Cymru, Lyn Ward of Welsh Hearts Cymru, Dr Dareyoush Rassi, Director at CHD, Professor Michael Lewis, Director at CHD and Shannon Stevens, Business Development Manager at CHD

Caption 2: L-r: Sharon Owen, Director of Welsh Hearts Cymru, Mr Chris James, Director at Cardiac Health Diagnostics (CHD), Professor Michael Lewis, Director at CHD, Dr Dareyoush Rassi, Director at CHD

Caption 3: Back Row, l-r:Professor Michael Lewis, Director at Cardiac Health Diagnostics (CHD) and Mr Chris James, Director at CHD

Front row l-r: Dr Dareyoush Rassi, Director at CHD with Sharon Owen, Director of Welsh Hearts Cymru