According to the British Heart Foundation, most of the 600,000 people in the UK are completely unaware of the faulty heart gene they carry- and can pass on to their children. The number turned out to be 100,000 more than the previous estimate. Inherited heart conditions lead to heart failure, and even sudden death from cardiac arrest, if left undetected and untreated.
James Taylor, a former England and Nottinghamshire cricketer, retired last April in 2016 after a near death experience following a warm up session for a game in Cambridge. His heart rate rocketed up to 265 beats per minute and remained there for six to seven hours. The average heart rate for an adult is 60-100 beats per minute; for athletes, it is around 40-60 bpm. Taylor stated that his resting heart rate is around 50 bpm, meaning it shot up to more than 5 times than usual. After scans in a hospital, it was revealed that Taylor had arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) which is an inherited condition caused by a mutation in the genes.
ARVC is a progressive condition where the ventricles of the heart become thin and stretched because the heart muscles are replaced by fat and fibrous tissue. Since the ventricles are responsible for pumping blood to the rest of the body, they cannot distribute blood properly and efficiently when affected by this condition. This greatly increases the chances of cardiac arrest (when the heart stops pumping blood) and sudden death. Every week, 12 people who are 35 years old or under die unexpectedly from inherited heart conditions.
The faulty heart gene is inherited from your parents, which also means that you can pass it on to your children. Some people, called carriers, have the gene but do not express any of the symptoms, but can still pass it on. The gene is still present in their nucleus and when their cells divide meiotically, it will still be present in the gametes produced. Therefore, there is a 50:50 chance the child will acquire it, if one of the parents is a carrier. Signs of a genetic heart disorder can be seen in the family history. Some can include unexplained death at a young age, heart failure at a young age, fainting, blackouts and seizures that could not be treated with typical seizure medication, and if more than one relative has the same heart disease. This discovery will help scientists in allowing to identify how this gene can be eradicated, and reduce chances of it being inherited.