FAQs

Why upper age limit of 35 years?

ECG screening in the over 35's is useful for exclusion of many inherited cardiac conditions. However, in this age group, acquired cardiac problems, in particular coronary artery disease, start to become more important as causes of sudden cardiac death, and simple screening will not help to exclude them (more detailed tests would be required).


Why minimum screening age of 14 years?

Screening before age 14 is useful for certain conditions such as inherited long QT syndrome. However, other conditions, in particular hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, does not usually develop until adolescence, and therefore screening at too early an age may give a (false) impression that the screened person has not got hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.


Can I have an ECG if I am Pregnant?

Yes, an ECG is not invasive and will neither harm you or your baby


Who will have access to my results?

The information from the tests is strictly confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone other than yourself (or your guardian if you are younger than 16 years), your GP and others who are directly involved within your care, e.g. other consultant cardiologists.

Healthy Hearts, Healthy Lives have designed a database in association with G-Pace to store, anonymously, individual’s data for research purpose only. This will be the most complete cardiac database for sports athletes available on the island of Ireland and will be invaluable to the understanding of sudden cardiac death.


What will happen if I am found to have a condition?

It would depend on the condition. Although most of the conditions are not ‘curable’ they are all treatable and treatments range from lifestyle adaptations to drug therapy or, in some cases, surgery.


What does an abnormal result mean?

About 3% of people have abnormalities that require further investigation. The majority of these are not a problem. About 1% of cases require ongoing monitoring; some conditions are not life-threatening but may require some minor lifestyle modification. Up to 1 in 300 people will have a potentially serious condition that will require ongoing lifestyle modification, treatment or surgery.

Additional tests, such as a Holter monitor (a 24 or 48 hour ECG) and/or exercise stress test may also be required. It is important to realise that a further review does not necessarily mean you have a cardiac condition. However, further information is required to give a full diagnostic evaluation.


When do I get my results and what do they mean?

The consultant will report within 48hrs of receiving the ECG report / ECHO scan. Results will be sent via email or post to the individual / referring source within 2 working days of receiving the report. In the majority of cases, individuals will receive a letter stating that no abnormality has been identified. However, sometimes individuals will be invited to attend an appropriate hospital for further cardiac testing. Healthy Heart, Healthy Lives will provide a recommended follow-up pathway to ensure a prompt, efficient and accurate conclusion to the findings.

In line with studies 4% of people will require an ECHO whereas 2.8% will require further investigations.


What is the procedure at a Healthy Hearts, Healthy Lives screening?

Healthy Hearts, Healthy Lives will provide our screening service in pre-determined facilities at your local sports club / community centre. You will be required to fill in a medical questionnaire and consent form which can be completed on-line in advance of the screening, or on the day of the screening.

Everyone will have an electrocardiogram (ECG) which takes approx 7 minutes to complete. An ECG is a non-invasive examination illustrating the electrical activity of your heart beat. It is performed using stickers (electrodes) connected to a mobile recording device. The recorded ECG can be printed or stored for transfer via email. Each ECG is reviewed and reported on by a Cardiology Consultant within 48hrs.

In association with the questionnaire the Consultant may recommend that further testing is required by means of an echocardiogram (ECHO). This is expected in 4% of people.

An ECHO is an ultrasound image of the cardiac chamber, identifying its structures and function. A date and location for the ECHO investigation will be provided within 10 working days of the consultant’s initial report.


Can anyone be screened?

At Healthy Hearts, Healthy Lives, we offer all individuals the opportunity to be screened. The screening programme is not just for people who play sport. Cardiac incidents are less common in the general population though they can take place at any time.


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