A MOTHER whose daughter died of an undiagnosed heart condition has taken her campaign for routine screening for the condition to Government.

Clarissa Nicholls a super fit former member of Tavistock Athletic Club died suddenly aged 20. Since the tragedy, her mother Hilary, of Lamerton, has been lobbying for increased access to screening to diagnose young sports people for heart conditions early.

Last week she and Torridge and West Devon MP Geoffrey Cox met Andrea Leadsom, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Public Health, with a couple who lost their son to SADS (sudden arrhythmic death syndrome) – a cardiac arrest for with no obvious cause.

Gill and Stephen described their son Nathan’s story and made the case for for screening in the young and the positive outcomes from interventions. They fundraised for screening events by the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) in their town of Scunthorpe. One screening identified a young woman with a hole in her heart who was operated on in Leeds General Hospital last week.

Hilary said: “We have presented the case for routine screening in 14-35 year olds via a simple ECG test because we know it picks up any heart condition if read by a specialist. Any anomalies can be quickly followed up by more tests which to rule out false positives. CRY screenings do follow ups with cardiologists which is excellent practice. We want more training of medical practitioners in reading ECGs in healthy and fit young people and more access to screening of young people in sport and the general population.

“I outlined the areas where screening does not take place and made the case for an inclusive approach - leaning towards sport because exercise exacerbates underlying conditions. Andrea is keen to investigate the case for more screening to prevent tragic deaths like Clarissa’s and Nathan’s and, with the strong support of our respective MPs, we will fight on to save young lives.”