12 May 2014
Fighting for families with inherited heart conditions
we're launching our new Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign to
highlight the urgent need for more research into the inherited
heart conditions hidden in so many family trees.
We now estimate that around half a million
people in the UK could be living with a faulty gene
putting them at unusually high risk of developing heart disease or
dying suddenly at a young age.
What is an inherited heart condition?
Inherited heart conditions are heart
conditions which are often passed on through families, because of a
single faulty gene. There are several different types each
affecting the heart in a different way. For many families the first
sign there is a problem is when someone dies suddenly, with no
This deadly legacy can span generations – someone living with an
inherited heart condition has a 50/50
chance of passing it onto their children. Previous estimates
suggested up to 380,000 people could be living with a faulty gene
but underdiagnosis means this figure may be much higher.
Fighting back through research
Despite advancements in research into inherited heart
conditions, many of which we've driven, lots of these
faulty genes still remain undiscovered. Finding those genes through
lab research is the first step towards developing improved
genetic tests to find people at risk. An early diagnosis can mean
the difference between life and death.
Our Medical Director, Professor
Peter Weissberg, said:
We urgently need to accelerate research into inherited heart conditions.
“We urgently need to
accelerate research into inherited heart conditions.
“Over recent years researchers have made great strides in
identifying some of the genes that cause inherited heart
conditions. A genetic test in a child of an affected parent can
save their life. More research is now urgently needed to identify
all the genes responsible for these deadly disorders.
“Pinpointing genes which cause inherited heart conditions will
allow affected children to be protected and, in the long term, will
lead to new treatments to overcome the effects of the faulty
The campaign launches today on television and online and
features a baby, Zara, whose mum, Caroline, discovered that
she had a faulty gene for an inherited heart condition before she
became pregnant. She knew that there was a 50:50 chance it could be
passed onto her baby.
Find out more about
the campaign and the BHF’s life-saving research
We are calling for people to text FIGHT
to 70707 and give £3 to join
the fight against inherited heart conditions or to donate