'My sister (36) died of sudden heart attack after anniversary dinner with her boyfriend'
The Mater's family heart screening clinic has seen more than 6,000 people avail of its vital service.
The clinic, which is funded by the Mater Foundation, recently screened its 1,000th family.
It offers families who have experienced a SADS death (Sudden Arrhythmic [Adult] Death Syndrome) or those who have survived a sudden cardiac arrest, a screening service for undiagnosed and inherited heart conditions.
Consultant cardiologist Dr Joe Galvin said that the clinic enables people to be seen in a less rushed environment with the support of screening nurses who are used to sitting down with families and going through the issues before and after they see one of the cardiologists.
New mum Eileen Mangan (34) told how her family were screened after the sad death of her elder sister Sarah in a case of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
"In August 2013, my sister Sarah was getting ready for her three year anniversary with her boyfriend James. They went out for dinner," said Eileen.
She said that the couple returned home from dinner and her sister had texted her to say they were home early.
However, moments later she received devastating news.
"I got a phone call to say that James was with her and he was resuscitating her," said Eileen.
Despite the desperate efforts of her boyfriend and paramedics, nothing could be done for Sarah who had just suddenly passed away at just 36 years of age.
Eileen said that her older sister had been a very healthy woman prior to her death and the family were urged to go to their GP and then the clinic in the Mater Hospital.
"More or less, the way it was described to us was all the wiring to the heart just shut down," said Eileen who lives in Milltown, in Co Kerry.
"We were advised to go to our local GP and start the process of being tested for any heart disease."
Thankfully they were all found to be fine following screening. Eileen and her family, with the help of the local community, have since raised over €16,000 in Sarah's honour for the Mater Hospital's Heart Appeal.