Family Heart Screening

Since opening in 2007, the Mater’s Family Heart Screening Clinic has tested over 11,000 people for inherited cardiac conditions

Why heart screening is so important

Each week in Ireland, one person under the age of 35 passes away from an inherited heart condition such as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) or Long QT Syndrome.

An inherited cardiac condition is disease that can be passed down through generations of a family, and, if left untreated, can be fatal. However, with screening and identification, steps can be taken to prevent this outcome and a family the pain of losing a loved one.


The Mater Family Heart Screening Clinic

The Mater’s Family Heart Screening Clinic tests at-risk families for potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions such as SADS. At the clinic, patients undergo tests such as:

  • an electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • an ultrasound of the heart
  • treadmill exercises
  • a referral for genetic testing.

The Family Heart Screening Clinic is almost entirely funded by the Mater Foundation’s supporters and each of these tests and the staff required to carry them out could not exist without this incredible generosity. The clinic receives very limited government funding and there is no charge for a patient to be seen.

With screening and identification of inherited cardiac problems, medical interventions can be taken to prevent a family the pain of losing a loved one.


Did you know?

  • 30% of families screened at the Family Heart Screening Clinic have a potentially inherited cardiac disease
  • In 2016, the clinic opened to screening children from 8 years of age upwards
  • Since 2007, the clinic has tested over 11,000 people for inherited cardiac conditions

How supporters are helping

Since 2007 when the Family Heart Screening Clinic opened, our supporters have given immense amounts of time, energy and generosity to keep the clinic open. From running marathons and mini-marathons, selling heart badges in our annual February Heart Appeal, and organising events in their community, they make a lifesaving difference. Our supporters have helped fund:

  • Nurse positions and a genetic counsellor
  • Holter monitors to provide continuous recording of heart rate and rhythm over 24 hours
  • Vital equipment for screening adults and children
  • The day-to-say costs to keep the clinic open


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Heart Appeal 2017 – Why We Need You from Mater Foundation on Vimeo.

How you can help save lives

The screening clinic urgently needs your support and each gift, no matter how small, can help a person at-risk of a cardiac condition. For example, an ECG costs just €45 and can help identify serious heart problems – one big reminder of just how simple it is to contribute to this extremely important work.

Alternatively, who not take on a physical challenge this year or organise an event in your community? Check out our Ways to Support page for more inspirational ideas!

More information on heart screening

If you’d like to know more about SADS and family heart screening, visit where you’ll find information, support and resources on inherited cardiac conditions and the service offered by the the Mater’s Family Heart Screening Clinic.

Patient Stories

We are privileged to meet some remarkable and inspiring patients. Read how your donations are changing, and saving, their lives.


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