At the CRY screening programme, the upper age limit for screening is 35 years of age and there’s an excellent reason for this. If one examines the epidemiological data on sudden cardiac death, then most deaths in people aged 35 or under are due to hereditary conditions affecting heart muscle and the electrical system of the heart. These abnormalities can be identified with ECG and echocardiography.
Above the age of 35, by far the commonest cause of sudden death is coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease will not be identified on a resting ECG – the best method of identifying coronary artery disease is to perform an exercise stress test or some sort of pharmacological stress test. There is a danger that our screening programme, which utilises ECG alone, will miss many individuals over 35 who have coronary artery disease and for this reason, we limit the screening to those aged 35 or less.