Heart attack numbers underestimated

9 August 2014        

Hospital doors

The number of heart attacks in the UK each year has been underestimated by 50,000, according to our latest analysis.

We now think that there are 175,000 heart attacks in the UK each year – 35 per cent more than was previously estimated.

This means that today alone 480 people will go to hospital after suffering a heart attack. That is equivalent to one person every three minutes. The need to fight cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke, is as urgent as ever.

In response to the new figures, our Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, said:

The revised figure is a stark reminder of the vital work still needed


“We now know there are 50,000 more heart attacks happening across the UK than previously thought. The revised figure is a stark reminder of the vital work still needed if we’re to stop people from suddenly losing a parent, grandparent, partner or sibling to a heart attack.

“The world class research we’re funding is helping improve diagnosis and treatment of heart attacks, and we’re working to prevent them from happening in the first place. With the support of the public we want increase our investment in this research, which will yield life-saving medical advances.”

Heart attack research breakthrough

Your support has already helped researchers at the University of Edinburgh make a major breakthrough in detecting the people at highest risk of a heart attack.

When fatty deposits, known as plaques, build up in the arteries and rupture, it can cause a heart attack. A new test, developed by a team led by BHF Clinical Lecturer Dr Marc Dweck, detects the fatty plaques on the brink of rupture. Doctors could use the test to know whether someone is in urgent need of aggressive treatments to prevent the heart attack.

Our strategy to 2020

We're launching a new strategy to fund more vital research discoveries and speed up the pipeline to turn these discoveries into life-saving medical advances.

We will launch a dedicated translational research awards scheme at a total cost of at least £5 million over five years. The scheme will help bridge the gap between a scientist’s initial findings and the treatments that will change and extend the lives of people with heart and circulatory disease.