While we understand the pain that the death of a loved one causes, and why cardiac deaths heighten desire for introducing national, un-targeted cardiovascular screening for young people, we know this is not the answer.
While the issue should continue to be reviewed, evidence from the National Screening Committee has shown that un-targeted screening would not work. This is because it only provides a snapshot of an individuals’ heart at that moment and heart conditions, such as cardiomyopathy, can develop at any time. To allow for changes in heart health, screenings would have to occur regularly, which the NHS cannot provide.
Instead of an un-targeted approach, the immediate obligation for the government, NHS, clinicians, and researchers should be on targeted cardiac screenings. With the majority of heart conditions, including cardiomyopathy, being inherited, it is most efficient for screenings to be focused on families where we know cardiomyopathy to be present and this is something that we advocate for in our Change Agenda .This way, we can strategically focus on diagnosing those who are most likely to have, or develop, heart conditions.
To reduce the number of deaths caused by cardiomyopathy, we must also focus on education for clinicians and the public that raises awareness of cardiomyopathy and its hereditary nature. By encouraging people to have conversations with their families about any history of heart disease, and letting their GPs know, means those at risk will be better prepared.
We will keep reviewing our policy to make sure that it remains up to date and reflects any advances in screening technology. At the same time we will continue to work with researchers, clinicians and policy makers to drive forward research that will help ensure that more people with cardiomyopathy are diagnosed early and able to access quality care and treatment.
If you would like to speak to somebody about screening for cardiomyopathy please contact 01494 791224.