Summer School to debate key issues on screening for Sads

Forum ICGP

Saturday 1 June 2013

The major issues surrounding screening for cardiac risk will form the basis of a key debate at the ICGP Summer School in Kilkenny this month.

Dr Deirdre Ward, consultant cadiologist and director at the Centre for Cardiac Risk in Younger Persons at Tallaght Hospital, and Dr. Joe Galvin, consultant cardiologist at the Mater Hospital, will speak for and against the benefits and risks assocated with screening.

Issues will include the background to sudden cardiac death (SCD), conditions that may cause it and how to recognise them. Evidence for and against general population screening and the available options for those seeking screening will also be debated.

Dr Ward will focus on the need to offer a comprehensive screening service to all first degree relatives of sudden adult death syndrome (SADS) victims as a priority. Worldwide data agrees that in 30-40% of cases the cause is a hereditary condition and immediate relatives may have a 50% risk of being affected by the same condition, she told Forum.

Dr Ward will stress the need for dedicated centres of expertise to improve the diagnostic yield but also to provide the necessary management plan, follow-up care, supply information to patients and families and, provide psychological support.

Dr Joe Galvin will focus on the importance of screening of families affected by SADS or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and the risks and benefits of general population screening for inherited cardiac diseases.

As regards screening the entire population for these conditions, or at least  young people engaged in sport. Dr Ward will point to Italian data on mandatory pre-participation screening of young people in competitive sports. This data, often dismissed as exaggerating the potential benefits of such a programme, is in fact the most robust body of evidence, collected over 30 years, and demonstrates a potential 90% reduction in SCD, she said.

The debate takes place on Friday, June 21 at 2.30pm in the ICGP Summer School in the Lyrath Hotel, Kilkenny.