New research from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has shown that some 620,000 people in the UK are living with a faulty gene that could cause heart problems.
The research indicates that those carrying the faulty gene are more likely to suffer from heart disease, which causes a thickening, thinning, or other change in the walls of the heart. If undiagnosed, this can lead to a heart attack or cardiac arrest, which can both be fatal.
The BHF have stressed that this number could be much higher, as there are many who are undiagnosed and are therefore unaware of the risk of potentially serious health problems. Additionally, as the condition is genetic, it is possible for faulty genes to be passed onto their children.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, medical director at the BHF, said “If undetected and untreated, inherited heart conditions, can be deadly and they continue to devastate families, often by taking away loved ones without warning.”
Symptoms of the faulty gene can include palpitations, irregular heartbeats, fainting and lightheadedness episodes. However, these symptoms can be indicative of other conditions, which can make diagnosis difficult. Doctors have to carry out various tests and scans in order to make a diagnosis, often requiring further, more specialised tests to identify the faulty gene. An implanted reveal monitor can be used to observe the heart’s functioning.
Treatment for the faulty gene is still in its early stages given the infancy of the research findings, but a cardiac defibrillator can help the patient to live a more “normal” life. These continually monitor the heart’s rhythm, and will automatically send an electric shock to regulate this if it senses an abnormality.
This research is fantastic news, as it should pave the way to treatment that could see the figure of people dying suddenly from an unexplained condition fall. Currently, around 12 apparently healthy people aged 35 and under die from a cardiac arrest, thought to be linked to the faulty gene.
If the NHS has failed you or one of your loved ones, we are here to help. Swain and Co Solicitors have an advanced Clinical Negligence department who regularly deal with clients who have received substandard medical treatment. If you, a family member or friend has received substandard medical treatment, contact our team on 02392 483322.