What is The Family Heart Screening Clinic?
Over the last four years The Mater Foundation, together with The Mater Cardiac Team, has been raising funds for a Family Heart Screening Clinic for families who have lost loved one's to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome - a sudden cardiac death of an apparently fit and healthy young person. This clinic provides a full screening facility for immediate family members of victims of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).
Although accurate statistics are not available experts estimate that at least one young Irish person under the age of 35 dies suddenly each week from cardiac diseases such as Cardiomyopathy or Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS). The Mater Cardiac Team, in association with The Mater Foundation took on the challenge to raise urgently needed funds for a Family Screening Clinic -to reduce the incidence of these tragic and silent deaths through a comprehensive screening facility for those most at risk - first degree relative members of victims of SADS. We were delighted to have Minister for Health & Children Ms Mary Harney T. D. officially open the clinic in February 2007.
Because deaths from SADS are so unexpected and exact diagnosis so difficult, those left behind experience extreme confusion, bewilderment and guilt as they are struggling to uncover a reason for the loss of their loved one. Many families spend months, if not years, trying to find out the exact nature of the disease and living with the fear that they or their other children may be at risk. It is crucial that we provide a facility where all their concerns can be addressed quickly and by those who understand their special situation".
- Mary Moorhead, Chief Executive, The Mater Foundation
Most victims of SADS are active youngsters who report no symptoms before their fatal collapse. The deaths in particular of young sports people including 22 year old Tyrone football captain Cormac McAnnallan, 18 year old Royal Armagh School rugby team captain John McCall have further highlighted the effects of this tragic condition. Dr Joseph Galvin, Consultant Cardiologist in the Mater Hospital states, 'Many of the cardiac arrhythmias and structural defects that may cause sudden death in the young are identifiable through screening. With treatment, many people with these conditions can potentially have normal life spans and lifestyles.'