HeartBeat of Sport have now launched their sports screening programme. It has been developed to identify underlying heart disease amongst those undertaking sporting activities in the wider community, with the intention of reducing sudden cardiac arrest and death. Unfortunately small numbers of local people suffer cardiac arrest during exercise every year, despite exercise itself being very healthy for the majority. This is because they suffer with an underlying heart problem that either gives them no symptoms or is undiagnosed. Fortunately if a heart condition is identified early, there are often a variety of options available, which may include lifestyle modification, medical or interventional treatments.

The first screening day was held at DW Gym in Halifax on Saturday 22nd November, where Dr Jeremy Butts the  Medical Director and a team including nurses, cardiac physiologists and sporting volunteers contributed their time. For the first screening day the charity invited local people who had been involved in fund raising. The cardiac screening programme included a detailed assessment confirming personal and family medical history, examination and an electrocardiogram (heart tracing).

Moving forwards the charity will be offering screening to members of local sporting clubs and teams across a wide range of sporting activities including running, rubgy, football and cycling. Not only will the process directly decrease the likelihood of cardiac death by identifying underlying cardiac problems, but also provide education within the community about the warning signs and symptoms to look out for. Hopefully then, club members will be alert to these signs not only in themselves but their friends and teammates who they train with.

Dr Butts said “Many underlying heart problems can be identified through detailed history taking, examination and a heart tracing. Symptoms that we would look out for include exertional chest tighness and excessive shortness of breath. Exertional lightheadedness or loss of consciousness is particularly worrying. The screening process only takes around 15 minutes per person and can provide a high level of reassurance to those undertaking increased levels of sporting activity.”

Barry who had the ecg test quoted, “I have family who have had heart related problems that have lost their life, it was good to have the test and to have a clear mind that I have no problems to this date. Thank you to Heartbeat of Sport.”