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.



Clear-thinking students on to a winner with anti-freeze idea

Irish Independent Tabloid

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Grainne Cunningham

ICE is not often a problem for firefighters, but a group of teenagers have made sure the local brigade's tenders will never again suffer from frosted windows.

Transition year student (Stephen Brosnan (16) and his fellow entrepreneurs have developed a liquid that prevents ice forming on windscreens.

Limerick Fire Brigade has bought a batch of the product, called F21-D, created by Stephen and fellow students Simon Geaney, Luke Barry, Shauna Tobin and Tom Flavin from Desmond College in Newcastlewest, Co Limerick.

The students have set up a company, also called F21-D, that makes car-care products and has received an order for 2,000 units from a global tyre distribution company.


Stephen said they came up with the idea for their anti-freeze product after his father hit a road barrier because of an iced windscreen.

F21-D the D is in honour of a former classmate who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome - is a profitable product, and the company is now considering bottling it in China or investing in its own bottling equipment in Ireland.

The Desmond College team is one of 19 from around the country who have secured places at a Student Enteprise Awards bootcamp in the Nexus Innovation Centre at the University of Limerick this week.

The bootcamp, organised by the county and city enterprise boards and sponsored by Ulster Bank, will encourage participants to swap ideas, receive mentoring and get feedback on their busines pitches from experts and entrepreneurs.


Conor Hogan Memorial Walkabout Raises Funds for Charity

Tullamore Tribune

Thursday 23 May 2013

Conor Hogan Memorial Walkabout Raises Funds For Charity

A fun walkabout in memory of the late Conor Hogan took place last Saturday at Tullamore Harriers.

Conor Hogan, Ballydaly, Tullamore was aged just 15 when he was a victim of a sudden cardiac death (sudden adult death syndrome) on June 13, 2011.

A son of Martina and Seamus Hogan, the organisers of the annual fundraisingwalk, Conor was a student at Colaiste Choilm, Tullamore and friends and famly of the late teenager attended last Saturday's event.

Donations made at the walkabout went to CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young), a self supporting charity which funds a screening centre at Tallaght Hospital where families of a victim of sudden cardiac death can be screened or where a young person experiencing symptoms can be screened free of charge. The charity also funds genetic counselling in this area. The centre in Tallaght Hospital is run by a cardiologist and a specialised team and the screening is free to the patients.

Marie Greene and Michael Greene founded CRY in Ireland after their youngest son Peter died of sudden cardiac death in 1996 at the age of 15.

Ms. Greene, a social worker, learned about the CRY organisation in the UK and then established it in Ireland. CRY's initial goals were to raise awareness of sudden cardiac death, to offer support and counselling to families and to support the development of a screening programme.

CRY was later approached by Tallaght Hospital, where a screening service was being set up, and the estimated capacity of tha tservice is 2,000 screenings each year.



Students' campaign could impact policy

Limerick Leader

Limerick West Edition

Saturday 11 May 2013 

Gerard Fitzgibbon

A campaign for mass cardiac screening of young people, which is being led by a group of students from Newcastle West, could be incorporated into Government health policy in the near future, a local TD believes.

Fine Gael TD Patrick O'Donovan said that elements of a campaign by transition year students at Desmond College, Newcastle West for greater screening for sudden adult death syndrome could be feasibly rolled out with minimal cost.

Last month, students from the Gortboy school travelled to Leinster House to meet with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Chairman of the Oireachtas Health Committee, Jerry Buttimer TD.

Over the past number of months the students have been raising awareness through online initiatives and local screening drives.  The issue at the centre of their cause has clear resonance with Desmond College - the sister of current transition year student Kieran Herlihy, Niamh, died suddenly at the age of 20 in 2011, while later that year 15-year old Desmond College student Darra O'Donovan also died suddenly.

Mr. O'Donovan said that data from heel prick tests, which could help identify if a child is in an 'at risk' health category, is one element of the campaign which could gain traction in Government policy.

"There's information available through the heel prick test.  I've spoken to the Minister for Health about that side of it.  Obviously there's resarch that needs to be done to see if that can be used for identifying (sudden adult death syndrome), but it's positive".

The students travelled to Dublin last month as part of the ongoing Young Social Innovators project, and received another significant boost a week later when they received a letter from the Taoiseach congratulating them on their efforts to date.

As well as a Facebook group which has attracted the support of over 25,000 people the students held a two day screening event at the school in February which saw students and staff receive screening tests for conditions which have been lihnked to sudden adult death.

Mr. O'Donovan said that the school's personal connection to the campaign is "very difficult" for them, and praised their efforts in keeping the need for screening on the agenda.

"What I would be hoping to do is get the health committee to take it on as an issue", he said.