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Fast-track pathology unit opens


11 March, 2008  

The UK’s first “fast-track” pathology unit has opened at a hospital to help ascertain the causes of unexpected cardiac death in seemingly healthy young people.

The charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), which raises awareness of sudden death syndrome, said around 11 people under the age of 35 die every week in the UK from the condition.

But it believes a lack of awareness and funding often leads to an incorrect recording of the cause of death.

CRY’s Centre for Cardiac Pathology (CCP) unit, at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, will allow coroners to refer cases to the laboratory and within two weeks receive a full report of the actual cause of death.

The organisation hopes the move will assist families, who sometimes have to wait up to 18 months in some instances for answers about how their loved-ones died.

Dr Mary Sheppard said: “Sudden cardiac death has a devastating impact on families – coming ‘out of the blue’ with no warning and often no explanation.

“However, the service at our new CRY Laboratories will enable us to play a small but vital part in helping people come to terms with their loss by providing the much sought after answers regarding the actual cause of death.

“Once families have access to such information, the correct follow-up screening can take place which could confirm whether any other members are living with the same, hereditary conditions. Only then, can medical professionals take steps to ensure that similar, unnecessary deaths are prevented in the future.”

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Cardiac Risk in the Young