A life saving transplant, a second chance

Andrew fell ill the day after he got married with a virus that attacked his heart and caused irreparable damage to it.  A heart transplant was his only chance of survival. 

BHF-funded research led to the UK’s first heart transplant in 1968. Today, nearly 200 heart transplants are performed in the UK every year.

Since his transplant, Andrew and his wife Lauren have had two children.


Andrew's condition, heart failure, is a debilitating condition that affects over 500,000 people in the UK. It happens when the heart muscle becomes so damaged it can no longer pump enough blood to meet the body’s demands, usually after a heart attack. It can be disabling and, in severe cases, terminal.

Right now, there’s no cure – but our researchers are determined to change this. Here are two projects with the potential to revolutionise treatment.


Do zebrafish hold the secret cure for heart failure?

image of a zebrafish


70% of  people now survive heart attacks, which is more than ever. But the damage caused can put people at risk of heart failure later in life.

So our vision, is to repair injured hearts. And Professor Paul Riley and his team hope they’re on the cusp of a major breakthrough. They’ve found a way to turn cells in the outermost layer of the heart into beating cells in mice.

Now he’s trying to find out why and how this happens in mice and a fish called the zebrafish.

Then, the plan is to replicate this self-healing process in humans and eventually, heal damaged hearts. Find out 5 ways Zebrafish are helping us find a cure for heart disease



Investigating the effects of iron supplements

image of heartfailure


Heart failure is a debilitating condition that can have a huge impact on your quality of life.

Often, people with heart failure have low levels of iron in their blood, a mineral which is important for getting oxygen around your body.

That's why Dr Paul Kalra is investigating whether injecting iron into the bloodstream could improve symptoms and extend people’s lives.

If his clinical trial is successful, it could pave the way for changing how people with heart failure are treated, making iron supplements an integral part of treatment.




If you are living with a heart condition and you're looking for help with understanding your condition or want to know more about keeping your heart healthy, we're here to help.

Call us on 0300 330 3311 (similar cost to 01 or 02 numbers). Phone lines are open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Or email us your questions to [email protected]