If an individual is aged over 35 and wishes to be screened for conditions causing sudden cardiac death then I’m afraid that Cardiac Risk in the Young don’t extend the screening programme beyond 35, we only screen people aged from 14 to 35. I’ve already answered why we screen people from 14 onwards, the big question mark is why do we stop screening at the age of 35?
If one looks at the prevalence of conditions that cause sudden death below 35 and above 35, then below 35 most deaths are due to hereditary or congenital abnormalities of the heart. Above 35, the vast majority of deaths are due to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease – that is, furring of the coronary arteries. A negative health questionnaire and a negative ECG will not exclude these conditions. So to exclude this condition, an individual would have to have an exercise stress test, in addition to an ECG.
We are very concerned of giving someone a false negative reassurance, where we tell someone there’s nothing wrong with you then they end up having a heart attack two years later. There could be major problems so we’re not in a position to provide that type of screening in people aged over 35 at the moment.