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PUPILS LEAD FIGHT AGAINST KILLER HEART CONDITION.

SCOTTISH pupils are to be the first in Britain to be screened for a heart condition which kills 200 people a year.

Children in West Lothian will be offered tests to establish if they have the condition, commonly known as Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS).

The illness - Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - is the most common cause of unexpected death in the under-30s.

It causes muscles in the heart to thicken, blocking the vital messages which keep it beating.

Now ECG chest examinations are to be offered to all 4500 secondary school pupils in West Lothian to establish if they have the disorder.

The pounds 147,000 programme, which has the backing of Lothian Health Board, will be spearheaded by a young mother who was diagnosed with SDS as a teenager.

Assisted by a trained technician, Lynne Lewis, 29, will take a portable ECG monitor to all 11 schools in the area over the next two years.

Starting from the new term in August, pupils will be offered the chance to undergo the tests which involve being hooked up to the machine to take readings from the heart.

The data will be sent to St George's Hospital in London for analysis.

Youngsters found to have abnormal readings will be referred for further tests at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

Speaking from her home in Broxburn yesterday, Lynne - who set up the Scottish branch of Cardiac Risk in the Young, which aims to help people with the condition - said the tests were vital to save lives.

The mother of two, whose project is funded mainly by private sponsors, said: "People are dying every single week of the year from this condition.

"If you catch someone with the symptoms at the age of 15 before they go out into the big, wide world, then that is great.

"This study could save someone's life."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 23, 1999
Words:305
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