Hidden heart conditions

Most people don't know they have a heart condition until something goes wrong.

In these moments, people can feel lost and scared.

But there is power in vulnerability and by sharing stories and experiences, we discover we are not alone.

We're shining a spotlight on some of these conditions and the people who have experienced them. 

Heart attack

Where we are now  

Today in the UK, around 260 people will be admitted to hospital with a heart attack – that's one every five minutes.

Some will die and those that survive could be left with life-changing consequences.  

Where we want to be  

Through the power of BHF-funded research, we want to ensure that everyone who has had a heart attack receives the right care for them.

Professor Vijay Kunadian is conducting a clinical trial to understand the risks and benefits of common heart attack treatments in older individuals.

Chris' story

Keen runner Chris took up the sport in later life and enjoyed competing, until he began having chest pains.

In April 2022, Chris was running when he had a heart attack.

Tests revealed the heart attack caused damage to his heart muscle. He also went on to have triple heart bypass surgery.


Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM)  

Where we are now  

Around 1 in 250 people in the UK are living with an inherited heart muscle disease, such as inherited dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

In its most severe form, DCM can make day-to-day life extremely difficult, and there is no cure other than a heart transplant.  

Where we want to be  

We want to find new ways to treat and even cure inherited cardiomyopathies, to stop hearts from failing.

Funded by BHF, Dr Brian Halliday is working to understand the causes of DCM and is trialling a potential new treatment, to give hope to people like Macy. 

Macy's story

Macy was just 18 when life changed for her almost overnight.

An apprentice hairdresser and keen horse rider, Macy ‘lived life at 100mph’ until falling seriously ill in October 2022.

She went on to be diagnosed with DCM and may need a heart transplant in the future.


Congenital heart disease  

Where we are now  

Every year in the UK, thousands of babies are born with congenital heart disease.

On average, 13 babies are diagnosed each day. But some diagnoses won't happen until they are much older, even as late as adulthood.

It's one of the most common birth defects, and some children may need specialist care for the rest of their lives.  

Where we want to be  

We want to understand why congenital heart diseases happens, so we can develop new therapies and support more effective surgery.

Dr David Lloyd, funded by BHF, is studying how the placenta could be involved in the development of congenital heart disease.

This will help us understand more about how a baby’s environment before birth might shape their future cardiovascular health. 

Rory's story

Rory was born with a congenital heart condition, coarctation of the aorta.

It was actually diagnosed in the womb by Dr David Lloyd.

Dr Lloyd carried out a foetal MRI scan, creating a detailed 3D image of Rory’s heart, enabling a treatment plan to be put in place for Rory as soon as he was born.