A cardiac research centre which will provide expert opinion and diagnosis about the causes of death in young people throughout the UK, has opened at St George's, University of London.


The Cardiac Centre for Pathology (CCP), funded by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), was originally opened in 2007 at Royal Brompton Hospital but transferred to St George's this year alongside the charity’s world-renowned Centre of Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions.

It is estimated that 800 young people die each year from cardiac causes in UK and the CRY unit acts as a referral centre for these cases.

Prior to the introduction of CRY’s fast-track expert service in 2007, many families often faced a wait of anything from three to 18 months for answers after their tragedy.

It is now estimated that at least 80% of all coroners in the UK refer to this fast-track service.

The service was led by one of the world’s leading cardiac pathologists, Professor Mary Sheppard, who has also moved across to the new CRY Unit at St George's.

Professor Mary Sheppard, Head of the Unit and Professor of Cardiac Pathology, said: "We are extremely grateful to the charity CRY which acknowledges the vital importance of the correct pathological diagnosis of causes of sudden young cardiac deaths.

“Families who suffer bereavement are the core supporters. Providing them with a rapid response enables these families to move forward following such a dreadful event in their lives."

Alison Cox MBE, Chief Executive and Founder of CRY, said: “For so long we were frustrated by the appalling length of time it took for affected families to receive the results from investigations into the cause of death - tragedies which occur without warning or explanation.

“We were very proud to know that our contribution by launching the CRY CCP has ensured real progress has been made to ensure most cases are now treated with sensitivity and urgency.

“Working with our fast track cardiac pathologist, the cause of death  can now be determined quickly, ensuring other family members can be assessed and screened once the underlying, and usually genetic condition, has been determined.”

The CCP works closely with the cardiology department within the University and St George's Hospital who do specialised screening of these families.