The UK NSC recommendation on screening to prevent Sudden Cardiac Death in 12 to 39 year olds
Find general information about population health screening.
Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?
Systematic population screening for Sudden Cardiac Death is not recommended. This is because:
More about Sudden Cardiac Death
Sudden cardiac death in young people is always shocking and very sad. This is in part because it is so rare. The chances of sudden heart attacks in apparently physically fit young people are tiny. The overwhelming majority of heart attacks happen in elderly people.
The UK NSC last looked at this issue in 2008, when it reviewed whether screening young people for Hypertrophic Cardiomypopathy should be recommended. The current review will be updating its recommendations on screening for Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD). This work will focus on screening people between the ages of 12 and 39.
• British Cardiovascular Society
The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.
Recommendation Review History
The UK NSC last reviewed this issue in 2008, when it recommended against screening young competitive athletes for Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the single most common cause of SCD in young people. Clinical evidence suggested that the available test was not yet accurate enough to correctly identify conditions which could lead to SCD without wrongly identifying those people with healthy hearts. There was a considerable risk that tests would be positive when the person had no illness (false positives) which could result in healthy people worrying unnecessarily that that they have a heart problem – causing them to change their behaviour and even avoid exercise and activity beneficial to their health overall.
Related documentsUK NSC Cover Sheet July 2015 (PDF document, 267KB, 30/07/15)
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