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Around 620,00 people in the UK could have the genes which cause deadly inherited heart conditions, and many of these people have not been diagnosed.

Diagnosing inherited heart conditions using currently available techniques can be very challenging.

A patient suffering from symptoms like difficulty breathing, palpitations, chest tightness and a racing heart rate could have an inherited heart condition or they could have a completely unrelated problem.

A survey of patients diagnosed with inherited heart conditions, conducted by the BHF, found that the majority of patients (60%) had initially been diagnosed with another condition.

This failure to make a diagnosis and start treatment puts patients at an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.

While genetic testing for families at risk can help diagnose some of these conditions, many of the genes responsible remain a mystery. Inherited heart conditions can be silent killers.

This means that early diagnosis is essential so people can be put on the right treatment and live a normal life. These results show that it can be extremely difficult to correctly diagnose people, meaning it’s vital that we raise awareness about the symptoms and diagnostic tests for those most at risk of inherited heart conditions. We urgently need to fund more research to identify the faulty genes responsible for these conditions and find new ways to treat people with inherited heart disease.”

Each week in the UK, around 12 seemingly healthy people aged 35 and under are victims of sudden cardiac death, largely due to these devastating conditions.

To find out more about inherited heart conditions and to support the BHF to fund more research to end the devastation of heart disease visit www.bhf.org.uk/unexpected

Dr Mike Knapton,

British Heart Foundation,