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University works with national charity to offer potentially lifesaving heart screening to students and staff

University of Gloucestershire is offering heart screening to its community of students and staff, and their family members, who may have an underlying heart condition which can often have no symptoms.

As part of its Stop the Heartbreak campaign, the University will hold a heart screening day at its Oxstalls Campus in Gloucester in collaboration with the national charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), which works to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD).

According to CRY, every week in the UK, at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young people aged 35 and under die from undiagnosed heart conditions.

On 24 January 2024, University students, staff and their family members aged between 14 and 34 will be able to undergo an electrocardiogram, or ECG, funded by Stop the Heartbreak and carried out by CRY’s cardiac physiologists and cardiology specialist doctors.

Screening with an ECG can identify conditions such as heart muscle disorders and electrical faults of the heart in people who are not showing any symptoms of cardiac disorders.

Depending on the results of the ECG, participants will be offered the opportunity to undergo ultrasound scan on the heart to provide further information about heart function. Where required, the participant will be referred to their GP.

Eve Scarle, Associate Head (Outreach and Engagement) of the University’s School of Health and Social Care, said: “Screening is vital as many heart conditions that affect young people do not present with symptoms until it is too late and they suffer a cardiac arrest.

“We want to work to detect these conditions so that young people can receive the right treatment and support for the conditions and the reduce the number of young people dying from cardiac arrests.

“Since we started holding our heart screening day in collaboration with CRY in 2013, a number of students, staff and local people have been diagnosed with underlying heart problems of which they were previously unaware.

“We’re pleased to be working with CRY to support the health and wellbeing of our community of students and staff, and the wider community, by offering heart screening.

“It’s part of our determination to do all we can to promote, support and protect the health and wellbeing of our students and staff, as well as members of the local community, which includes access to 13 defibrillators across our locations in Gloucester and Cheltenham.”

Picture: A specialist from the national charity Cardiac Risk in the Young carrying out a consultation with a young person