University of Glamorgan supports Cardiff Blues nominated charity

October 9, 2012

Cardiff Blues have confirmed CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) as their nominated charity for the 2012/13 season. The University of Glamorgan is proud to support the charity by hosting clinics for their cardiac screening programme for young people.

From left to right: Anne Thomas, CRY representative in Wales; Dr Gareth Jones, University of Glamorgan and Cardiff Blues; Andries Pretorius, Cardiff Blues captain; Angela Sims, senior lecturer in cardiac physiology at the University of Glamorgan and Jamie Roberts, Cardiff Blues and Wales centre CRY was founded in May 1995 to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS). As well as campaigning and lobbying the charity also provides a subsidised cardiac screening programme for young people (35 and under). CRY also provide counselling and support to bereaved families and individuals who may be diagnosed.

Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) is an umbrella term for a number of different heart conditions that affect fit and healthy young people which, if not treated can result in a tragedy. In about one in 20 cases of sudden cardiac death, no recognised cause can be found – even after post-mortem. This is then called Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

Angela Sims, Senior Lecturer in Cardiac Clinical Physiology at the University of Glamorgan, said: “Many people link the phrase “cardiac conditions” with age and obesity, but this is a group of patients far removed from this picture. Young, fit and apparently healthy people may have conditions diagnosed through such simple tests as an ECG, or more advanced techniques, such as echocardiography (ultrasound scanning). Some of these may even go on to have an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted. These techniques and therapies require close involvement with the profession of cardiac physiology.

“Cardiac physiologists perform the diagnostic procedures, and also follow up patients with cardiac devices, such as the ICD. At Glamorgan, we are proud to be training future cardiac physiologists through the BSc Clinical Physiology programme, and also to be able to contribute to the work of CRY by participating in the screening clinics and providing the venue for the clinics at the Glamorgan Simulation Centre.”

CRY’s screening programme based on a 10 minute ECG and follow-up echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) if required. CRY has found that 1 in 300 young people carry a potentially fatal heart condition. CRY ECG tests save lives. 12 healthy young people die each week in the UK from these sinister undiagnosed` heart conditions that are usually inherited.

CRY urges young people between the ages of 14 and 35 to register on-line for their screening programme, particularly if they are regularly taking part in sport. The screening programmes take place at a number of locations across the UK, including the University of Glamorgan.

Cardiff Blues try to support many charities both locally and nationally through fundraising at matches and support with PR campaigns. The team chose CRY because of the close link with Cardiff Blues Marketing Executive, Georgina Hughes, who lost her brother Matthew to sudden cardiac death in 2007 when he was just 17 years of age.

Speaking at the launch, Georgina said: “CRY provide families affected by a sudden cardiac death with support not only during the initial days following the bereavement but also in the following months and years including offering counselling, family support days and the fast tracking of heart screening tests to ensure the condition is not genetic; opportunities I took full use of. CRY run many subsidised and free screening events across the country which is something I always encourage my friends to attend as often these conditions present no warning signs.”

Cardiff Blues centre Jamie Roberts who underwent a screening at the launch added: “It’s great that CRY is our nominated charity for the 2012/13 season. We will be giving our full support to CRY this season, whether this be through fundraising or raising awareness at our matches and through our media channels.”

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