The impact of our work

For more than 50 years, our research has saved lives.

We’ve broken new ground, revolutionised treatments and transformed care.

Fifty years ago we knew little about heart disease. We didn’t understand the causes of a heart attack, and the best treatment doctors could offer was bed rest. The newly-founded British Heart Foundation was part of an effort to transform this picture.

Turning the tide against heart disease

Our work has had a significant impact. Today, seven in ten heart attack victims get to go home to their families. The number of deaths from heart and circulatory disease has fallen by more than half and 4 in 5 children born with congenital heart disease survive into adulthood


Achievements over the years

In 1961, heart and circulatory disease caused more than half of all deaths in the UK: concerned doctors joined forces with philanthropists to establish the BHF. Some of the best scientific minds in the country, funded by us, have since dedicated their careers to tackling heart disease

  • We helped establish the UK’s first coronary care units-this has revolutionised how patients are cared for worldwide
  • We funded research into surgical techniques which led to the UK's first heart transplant-today around 200 transplants are carried our every year saving hundreds of lives
  • We funded thousands of defibrillators for use in ambulances, improving people's chances of survival from cardiac arrest
  • We funded the identification of the genetic mutations behind deadly inherited heart conditions and are identifying thousands of people living with the silent killers
  • We have put thousands of minds at rest by distributing millions of resources and dealing with over 20,000 health queries, every year.

There are still seven million people in the UK living with cardiovascular disease today. Too many people die too young. That’s why we are still dedicated to working with our supporters and our scientists, harnessing the power of medical research to lead the fight against heart disease.

browse Timelines of research into heart attacks and inherited conditions