Tracking down deadly genes

a stylised representation of a chain of DNA

Thanks to relentless research, we’ve improved and saved the lives of thousands of people living with an inherited heart condition. 

A hidden disease stealing lives

A deadly heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) took the lives of Sir David Frost and his son Miles, aged just 31.

It leads to abnormal thickening of the heart muscle and is caused by a faulty gene that’s passed down through families. 

Professor Hugh Watkins found a number of the faulty genes that cause HCM and set up the world’s first genetic testing service to assess families for the disease.

Find out how the Frost family turned their tragedy into a force for good by establishing the Miles Frost Fund.

Preventing early heart attack

stylized representation of a heart attack

We tend to associate heart attacks with middle aged, overweight men. But the truth is, hidden diseases like familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) can put people at risk of heart attack even when they’re very young.

After years of research, Professor Steve Humphries found a number of the faulty genes responsible for this condition and helped launch a programme to test families who may be at risk. 

A life saving diagnosis

To save families from the heartbreak of sudden, early deaths, we must find anyone who is carrying deadly genes.

Professor Stuart Cook and his team developed a simple blood test that can be used to test families for all the faulty genes known to cause inherited heart conditions.  

This new test is quick and accurate, and gets families the diagnosis and treatment they urgently need. 

We’re far from finished

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far, but the job’s not done. Our researchers won’t stop until they can understand, diagnose and treat the diseases that devastate families in every country, every day.

Find out what we’re doing to tackle inherited heart conditions for good

British Heart Foundation support

Call our Genetic Information Service on 0300 456 8383 if you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with or has died from a suspected inherited heart condition.