Doctor and patient

Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the heart muscle. While the condition is relatively uncommon, its effects can be very serious. It can cause the heart to thicken or enlarge, and can sometimes cause sudden death in young people.

What causes cardiomyopathy?

Cardiomyopathy can be caused by faults in our DNA. We inherit half our DNA from our mother and half from our father, so these conditions can be passed down through families.

Often when people are struck down by this condition it is completely unexpected - there were no signs that the person had a heart problem.

Finding cardiomyopathy genes

The research we fund has helped push the boundaries of our understanding of genetics, and given us tools we can use to find and help people at risk of dangerous heart conditions.

In the early 1990s two researchers, Bill McKenna and BHF Professor Hugh Watkins, we funded led the way in finding some of the first genetic mutations that cause one of the most common cardiomyopathies, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

Find out how one of Hugh Watkins' patients became a researcher in his lab at the University of Oxford.

Their work led to a successful pilot of an NHS genetic screening scheme for HCM that we want to be more widely available across the UK to help find hidden cases of this condition in relatives of people with the condition that may also be affected.

We've launched the Miles Frost Fund to raise money to help make genetic testing available to all families affected by HCM.

Find out more

Next steps

Knowing that cardiomyopathy has a strong genetic connection is one thing. Using that knowledge to develop drugs or other treatments is our aim, and we need your help to keep working towards it.

We also do not know all of the genes yet that cause HCM and other inherited heart conditions so we need your support to fund genetic research into these conditions which cause families so much heartache.

Support heart research

We need your donations to help us fund more cutting-edge research into inherited heart conditions.