Press Release

Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death Syndrome established

The Department of Health and Children today (29 September 2004) announced that a National Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death Syndrome has now been established in order to review the problem of sudden cardiac death in Ireland.

The majority of sudden cardiac deaths occur from late middle age onwards as a result of coronary artery disease.   Over the past few months however, attention has also been drawn to the fact that there have been a number of sudden deaths in young adults, including high profile athletes.

Sudden death can be caused by a number of conditions including (a) a viral infection of the heart muscle, (b) inherited genetic conditions including enlarged heart muscles and faulty wiring of the electrical system of the heart muscle.

Dr Brian Maurer,Vice President of the Irish Heart Foundation has been invited to chair the group. The Task Force will make recommendations on the prevention of sudden cardiac death, on training and equipment programmes to improve the outcome in those suffering from sudden cardiac collapse and on the establishment of appropriate surveillance systems.

The terms of reference for the Task Force will be:

  • To review the extent of the problem in Ireland and its underlying causes
  • To advise on the assessment and follow-up of those at risk of sudden death and their relatives
  • To advise on screening of young people engaged in sports and on the assessment of those identified as being at high risk
  • To advise on priority groups for extension of training programmes in basic life support and priority locations for automatic external defibrillators
  • To advise on the establishment and maintenance of surveillance systems, including a registry of sudden cardiac death, and information systems to monitor screening and assessment, and training and equipment programmes
  • To advise and make recommendations on other priority issues relevant to sudden cardiac death in Ireland.
  • To hold a consultative workshop with key stakeholders, to review draft proposals and incorporate the views expressed into the report of the Task Force
  • To agree a work plan, with a view to submitting a final report by May 31st 2005.

Representatives from bodies such as the Irish Heart Foundation, Dublin and Irish Society of Immediate Care, the Faculty of Sports Sciences, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Irish Sports Council, National Cardiovascular Information Systems Steering Committee, have been invited to participate.