1. ITV Report

Blood test launched to detect inherited heart conditions

Video report by ITV News Science Correspondent Alok Jha

A blood test which detects all known inherited heart condition genes could soon be rolled out across the NHS.

The genetic test - which is cheaper, easier to use and picks up more problems than existing tests - is already being used by the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust but is expected to be taken up by others.

Inherited heart conditions affect more than half a million people in the UK.

Researchers funded by the British Heart Foundation developed the blood test which looks at 174 genes.

Genetic testing of family members can pinpoint faulty genes, therefore leading to the possibility the person can be treated to cut their chance of early death.

Researchers funded by the British Heart Foundation developed the blood test. Credit: Anthony Devlin / PA Wire/PA Images

Collectively, inherited heart conditions represent a major cause of heart disease and are often the cause of an unexplained sudden death in a young person.

As research advances and technology develops, we are identifying more and more genetic mutations that cause these conditions.

In this rapidly evolving field of research the aim is to achieve ever greater diagnostic accuracy at ever-reducing cost.

– Professor Peter Weissberg, British Heart Foundation

Last month, the BHF launched the Miles Frost Fund in memory of Sir David Frost's son, Miles, who died suddenly last year of an undiagnosed heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

The family believes Miles inherited HCM from his father.

Inherited heart conditions can affect people of any age and can be life-threatening.

For many people, the first sign that they have an inherited heart condition is when a member of their family dies suddenly with no obvious explanation.