Heart Failure Genetic or Not! - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Heart Failure Genetic or Not!


Evening everyone, recently diagnosed with left ventricle failure. Completely shocked as very healthy or so I thought. All started due to BP suddenly being 185/125. I've had echocardiogram (which diagnosed problem) and have recently had a myocardial perfusion scan which confirmed problem (40% ejection) stress test results better than expected. My question, cardiologist telling me he feels my heart failure is genectic. But have recently been told by a doctor abroad (went for a fit to dive certificate, which he wouldn't give me) that there is always a reason for sudden heart failure and to seek a second opinion. Is he right!

15 Replies
MichaelJHHeart Star

I am not sure about heart failure but I needed a quadruple bypass some months ago. The male side of the family has an appalling history of heart disease with my father, his brother and their father dying of heart attacks due to CVD (preceding generations were not long lived but post mortems did not happen then. My cardiologist said it was hereditary and that my diabetes just complicated the issue. However, one GP insists it was caused by diabetes and ignored family history. I doubt you will get a definitive answer. I hope your treatment goes well.

If it were genetic it would manifest itself earlier.

What happens with a lot of people is that a health professional recognises a chronic health problem and advises being more active, eating healthier and losing weight.

When that doesn't help, the blame is put on genes, whereas actually it is the low-fat advice that is at fault. Our expectations of what 'healthy eating' can do have been eroded by decades of this ineffective dogma.

The ICS-NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is apt for preventing and managing many chronic health conditions.

Can you expand on the 'low-fat dogma' that you mention, please?

See also bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/10/769

and xperthealth.org.uk/Portals/...

You can see from the insulin index that reducing the fat from milk and cutting the fat from meat raises the insulin response insulinandmore.com/2018/01/... contributing to hyperinsulinaemia that causes insulin resistance; the root of many chronic conditions, effectively accelerating aging.

in reply to Concerned

You are incorrect. Genetic problems can and do take decades to appear, eg if you have a notch1 genetic mutation at birth your bicuspid aortic valve will take 40-50 years to appear. There are other studies going on at the moment (eg the brave study) looking into genetic heart problems, these are based on known individual and family health and are testing for and diagnosing serious problems in adults who have no symptoms or have not started the problem yet. If that is not late onset genetic problems then what is?

in reply to Serg12

Good question; what is?

I was diagnosed with left ventricular heart failure 4 and a half years ago. Used to do gardening as a job and as not a driver cycled with a trailer to each job. Went to Drs with shortage of breath and falling asleep a lot. As blood pressure 216/124 made appointment for medical assessment unit of hospital. Also advised 'probably inherited'. I understand can only be confirmed with DNA comparison. My mother died of heart failure when she was 40. I myself don't worry about what has caused. Though can understand if you have children may worry about them. I have 6 brothers and sisters and none of them have any signs of heart failure. All the best.

There are a number of potential causes for heart failure and some (but not all) of those are genetic, e.g muscular dystrophy. The cause of my heart failure is not known, but I was sent to speak to a geneticist. They ruled out any of the genetic causes they can currently test DNA for but recommended my parents and siblings had an ECG (all fine) and that my daughter has a heart scan every five years until adulthood (again, so far so good). My gut feeling is that the cause of my heart failure is not genetic, but it's still reassuring to know my nearest and dearest are OK. Definitely worth asking your cardiologist for more details. Hope that helps. Good luck!


It is well documented ischaemic heart disease (IHD) has genetic component. IHD can be responsible for left ventricle failure ( but there are other causes).

6 years ago had a heart attack (due to IHD) and then a cardiac arrest. The result was heat failure and heart arrhythmia, treated with stents (4) and a pacemaker.

I was 65 at the time. My father had a cardiac arrest, but unfortunately died 58. We both had no previous history. So yes, genetic can play a part in the causation of heart failure.


Thank you for your reply, don't have any history in the family of left ventricul failure. Doctor abroad was abiment that if I'd had a genetic heart condition this would have been identified long ago. I'm 56 with no previous highpertention history. He's raised serious doubt in my mind in relation to the treatment I've received to date. His analysis seems very logical, I'm not a cardiologist clearly, but feel I need another doctor to look at my test results to put my mind at rest.


I too have high-risk CVD genes. They do say, "your gun is loaded (genetic-factor)" but usually, something else pulls the trigger. If you had high-risk CVD genes, then having diabetes on top, can well be the one that fired your loaded gun, ready to go off. Stress, trauma, pollutions, obesity, exposure to toxins, that give you extra oxidative stress over time, even ageing, the list is endless.

My answer to this question is, grab whatever you like to do if you are already in the "danger zone". Do what you want to do now. Wondering if it's "genetic" or not, it's a pointless exercise. You already got the disease. Yes, people do have all sorts of risk genes but some do not develop the disease. Shall I dare say, "go figure"? Not everything is logical as to how the disease manifests in someone. Sometimes, you had a bad luck when all your siblings shared all the bad genes that run in the family and you are alone, developing the disease.

Just because you have a genetic disposition towards a heart problem doesn't mean you're a "dead man walking". Lifestyle changes and medication can still give you a full and healthy life, failing to make those changes or take the correct medication can see you in an early grave. Genes are important, but they're not destiny.

in reply to Chappychap

Evening, totally get what you're saying, but being of a binary disposition, unanswered questions don't work.

in reply to Dommie_1

The overseas doctor was correct, ignore the fatalistic genetic diagnosis and get a second opinion that takes you to a practical action plan.

in reply to Chappychap

TBF, the heart is just a very efficient pump, it's time someone gained a clinical understanding of how it works and what's needed to make it work.

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