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British Heart Foundation
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My father recently had sudden cardiac arrest (twelve in total) and died at the age of 59. He was incredibly fit and healthy, a keen cyclist, cycling up to 100 miles a day, didn’t drink, smoke and was a very good weight. He had an echo and clotesterol test around 6 months prior, all coming back fine. It turns out he had chronic heart disease and had 8 blocked arteries (which is incomprehensible considering his life style). My grandfather died at the age of 60 of heart attack and suffered angina for 3 years prior so the consultants have suggested we get genetic testing. I phoned the GP and they don’t know what tests to do and have asked me to contact the IDU staff to see if they can write a letter. They are incredibly busy and we still are no further forward. Any suggestions welcomed.

Many thanks

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Hi Jenna.

My partner is one of the lucky ones who had a sudden cardiac arrest and is a survivor. He now has an implanted defibrillator. It turns out he has a syndrome called long QT. This is a generic condition. He has had the genetic tests done and is waiting the results.

My first suggestion is to ask your doctor to arrange for ECG's to be done on the immediate family. That would show if anyone has heart rhythm problems or anything like long QT syndrome, which can lead to sudden collapse. Having you cholesterol checked too may show if the family are predisposed to high cholesterol and of course get your blood pressures checked regularly - it's worth buying a B/P machine at your local pharmacy.

As for genetic testing the cardiology department at major centres will have an inherited genetic cardiac specialist. Its worth asking your own doctor to refer you to a cardiologist to get you all checked out to be sure you are all fit and well.

Hope that is of some help.

Good luck.


Jenna Sorry to hear of the sudden death of your fit father . I virtually insisted to my Dr that I have an angiogram due to family history of father and mother suddenly Dying through heart problems and my brother having Heart attack and Quadtuoke CABG . The surgeon says 75% heart disease due genetics and smoking . Shortly after I was struggling to complete my normal run . The young Dr who was doing his clinical practice at the surgery said I was right and due family history set me into Catdiology and Angiogram. It still took three months but my LAD was found to be 98% blocked . Stent inserted and doing ok . So insist or even exaggerate symptoms but do push. Good luck and don’t stress about it .


Thank you! I think I will. I’ve just signed up to do a charity sky dive on behalf of a heart charity with my best friend (who’s father also passed away of a heart attack at 49) and realised that several of these charities provide a screening service at a very reasonable cost. So, will also try my luck there. It’s a life changer losing a parent suddenly, so having it happen twice is cruel. I’ve learnt in such a short space of time, all you can do is make the most of what time you do have! Best of luck to you :)


Exactly , a huge shock . Enjoy each day . You can offer good understanding and sympathy’s to friends and others who lose their parents . Enjoy the skydive and I hope you get checked out .


Incredible stories from you both. Stay beautiful, stay strong. We gotta make the most of every day we have.


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