Press Release

Tánaiste launches Report of the Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death

The Tanaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney TD, today (2nd March 2006) launched the report of the Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death, “Reducing the Risk: A Strategic Approach”.

View Reducing the Risk: A Strategic Approach

Welcoming the Report, the Tánaiste noted that approximately 5,000 Irish people will die from sudden cardiac death this year. The majority of these deaths will occur from late middle age onwards as a result of coronary heart disease, which accounts for almost 80% of sudden cardiac deaths in most developed countries.

The Tánaiste said, “Tragically each year a small number of our young people lose their lives to sudden cardiac death. While all sudden death is traumatic, the loss of a young person in these circumstances is particularly distressing. The work of the Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death has concentrated on examining the causes and devising a strategy to reduce the number of these sudden deaths”.

“It is clear from the Task Force report that reducing the numbers of sudden cardiac deaths in Ireland presents a major challenge. This challenge can only be met by a concerted effort from all involved, including the statutory and voluntary services and the community. The publication of this report is timely, given the major changes that are under way in our health service delivery system. The Health Service Executive will now be tasked with ensuring that the report’s recommendations are implemented,” said the Tánaiste.

In undertaking its work the Task Force was mindful of national health policy, relevant national strategies and of the recently reformed structures for health service delivery in Ireland. The incidence, management and monitoring of SCD were examined. Recommendations in the report cover the following areas:

  • the prevention of SCD;
  • the detection of those at high risk;
  • risk assessment of those engaged in sports and exercise;
  • equipment and training programmes to improve the outcome in those suffering from sudden cardiac collapse; and
  • the establishment of appropriate surveillance systems.

The Tánaiste thanked Dr Brian Maurer, who chaired the Task Force, all members of the Task Force and organisations and individuals who assisted in the Task Force’s work.