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New heart testing service launches in Swansea, the first of its kind in Wales

Approximately 30,000 people in Wales have the faulty gene that can cause an inherited heart-related condition. Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/PA Images

A new genetic heart testing service launches in Swansea today, the first of its kind in Wales.

Morriston Hospital is the first in Wales to receive funding to improve genetic screening services testing for a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The condition often has no symptoms but can cause a cardiac arrest without warning.

Former Lions and Welsh international, Roy Bergiers, was diagnosed with HCM six years ago.

Morriston Hospital is the first place in Wales to get funding for HCM testing. Credit: Barry Batchelor/PA Archive/PA Images

Funding from the British Heart Foundation and the Miles Frost Fund has allowed the hospital to appoint a new Inherited Cardiac Conditions Nurse Specialist. Immediate family members of those diagnosed with HCM will have access to the genetic testing.

My role means we can now raise more public awareness and help hundreds more families, as the consequences of failing to identify those at risk of HCM can be fatal.

– Louise Norgrove, Cardio-Genetic Nurse Specialist

Approximately 30,000 people in Wales have a faulty gene that can cause an inherited heart-related condition. Immediate family members of those who test positive to having the gene have a 50% chance of inheriting the gene themselves.

We are delighted that the BHF Miles Frost Fund has chosen to support our inherited cardiac condition service. The service we have developed at Morriston Hospital is small but growing. We expect this funding for a dedicated inherited cardiac condition specialist nurse and genetic counselling will dramatically improve access for diagnostic testing, family screening and genetic testing for the patients we look after across South West Wales.

– Dr Carey Edwards, Consultant Cardiologist
HCM often has no symptoms but can cause a cardiac arrest without warning. Credit: G�rard Houin/Belga/PA Images