At CRY, the screening programme involves a health questionnaire and a 12 Lead ECG. The health questionnaire refers to symptoms suggestive of cardiac disease and a family history of premature cardiac disease. There is no question that a General Practitioner can ascertain information required on the health questionnaire. My concerns are about the 12 Lead ECG, because most General Practitioners are trained to identify common conditions such as coronary artery disease manifestations on the ECG or electrical faults such as atrial fibrillation.
However, most General Practitioners will not have seen many cases of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, long QT syndrome or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. I would go as far as saying that in a GP’s career, a GP may only come across five or six such cases, so I think it would be potentially unfair to expect a GP to be able to identify conditions such as these. I think this sort of investigation should be left to a cardiac expert that is fully experienced in the diagnosis and management of conditions causing sudden cardiac death in the young.