Inherited heart conditions
Inherited conditions can be passed on through
families. They can affect many parts of the body or
cause many different conditions. They are sometimes called
genetic heart conditions.
Inherited heart conditions can affect people
of any age and can be life threatening. For many
families, the first sign there’s a problem is when someone dies
suddenly with no obvious cause or explanation.
These conditions are different from
most congenital heart conditions,
although some congenital conditions can also be inherited.
Find out about our
research into inherited heart conditions.
What causes an inherited heart condition?
Our genes make each of us unique. They affect
how we look and how our bodies work. We inherit them from our
parents. Inherited heart conditions are caused by a fault (or
mutation) in one of more of our genes. If one of your parents has a
faulty gene, there’s a 50:50 chance you could inherit it. If you
do, then there’s also a 50:50 chance you could pass it on to each
of your children.
It’s possible to have a faulty gene that can
lead to a heart condition, yet never develop any signs of symptoms
of the condition itself. You can still pass the gene on and there’s
no way of knowing how it may affect your child, even if they do
inherit the same faulty gene. Some people with an inherited heart
condition do not develop symptoms, yet their child could inherit
the same faulty gene and develop symptoms.
What inherited heart conditions are there?
The most common inherited heart conditions
Inherited heart rhythm disturbances, for
Cardiomyopathies, for example:
Very high cholesterol levels:
Who can I speak to about inherited heart conditions?
Call our Genetic
Information Service (GIS) helpline on 0300 456
8383 for more information and support. The helplines are
available Mon-Fri, from 09:00 – 17:00 (similar cost to 01 or 02
Our GIS has qualified and specially-trained
cardiac nurses who can provide you with information about your
inherited condition and how it may affect your family.
They can help you get an assessment at a
specialist clinic that deals with inherited heart conditions.
If you’re with someone when they
collapse suddenly, you should call 999 immediately. If they stop
breathing normally they may be in cardiac arrest. Performing
cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
until the ambulance or medical help arrives could help to save
their life. If you are untrained in CPR, the 999 operator will be
able to talk you through the process.
For more information
We have produced the following booklets for
you to download or order, on inherited heart conditions to help you
to understand your condition and how it may affect your family: