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Experts to probe NI heart health

Medical experts in Northern Ireland are to investigate sudden cardiac death in young people, officials have said.

Chief Medical Officer Michael McBride will head up the review after two young sports players died in Tyrone this month.

The province's health minister, Michael McGimpsey, told the Assembly: "We want to get this right, and I think this is the proper tribute the Assembly should pay to our children who have lost their lives so young in such a terrible way."

He added cardiac, genetic and psychological experts will examine the health of the province's young people, and sporting and voluntary sector representatives will also be involved.

SDLP member Dominic Bradley is calling for further analysis of a heart defect screening service.

He said: "I don't believe we should be leaving such initiatives to solely to the families and sporting organisations, but that we in this House have a duty to investigate all possibilities and to set up a system of screening which will complement and possibly encompass existing efforts, and which will help to reassure all parents.

"It is possible to narrow the target group for screening by methods which are relatively inexpensive and which are already in use here, in the Republic, and in England."

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Northern Ireland Assembly