A heart charity is making people aware of a simple and quick ECG (electrocardiogram) test that could save hundreds of lives each year.
To demonstrate the point, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) held its fifth ECG screening clinic in Ponteland. It was available to people aged between 14 and 35.
Previous donations made in memory of Mathew Thoppil, of Ponteland, funded 100 free screenings during the day. Out of those young people screened, three people were referred for further investigations.
Mathew tragically died in May 2005 from young sudden cardiac death aged just 31.
Family friend Simone Sansom, who helped organise the screening, said: “I was as shocked and heartbroken as everyone else to hear of Mathew’s sudden death.
“He was a keen sportsman and cricket fan, so to hear that he had collapsed and died whilst playing squash was incomprehensible.
“A post-mortem revealed Mathew had advanced Ischaemic heart disease and although he was a young GP aged 31 and the condition runs in the family, he never experienced any of the warning signs.
“Philip, Mathew’s father, felt very strongly that everything possible should be done to detect and warn potentially vulnerable young people.
“We are all very grateful to everyone who came to the screening and to Andy Anderson and Rev Tim Thorpe for allowing the screening clinic to be held at Ponteland Methodist Church.”
The ECG test is quick, non-invasive and painless and if necessary a further echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) can be taken on the same day to provide further clarity or reassurance.
The Newcastle Thunder rugby league club supported the clinic and Benn Hardcastle was among the players to be screened to raise awareness.
He said: “I’d urge anyone in the target age group to take the screening test. It could save their life.”