We would like to thank the following people for their kind contributions to the medical information on this website.

Dr Elijah R Behr, Reader and Honorary Consultant Electrophysiologist Cardiac and Vascular Division, St George’s University of London, Professor William J McKenna, Dr Nabeel Sheikh and Louise Roberts (Illustrations)

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC)

The incidence of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is now thought to be higher than previously believed (affecting 1 in every 1000 individuals), due to the availability of better diagnostic techniques and general awareness of the disorder amongst the medical profession. ARVC was first recognised in the late 1970’s. It is anticipated that even more information regarding ARVC will be available in the coming years, to help us understand the natural history of the condition.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder. It affects around 1-2% of the overall population. It is more common in men and is increasingly common as people age [1]. While it is associated with other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and other types of heart disease [2], people who are otherwise fit and healthy may still develop AF.

Brugada syndrome

In the western world it affects mainly young and middle-aged adult men. It has been associated with mutations in the same sodium channel that is affected in long QT syndrome, but this appears to account for only 1 in every 5 people with the condition. The sodium channel behaves abnormally in that movement of sodium ions into the cells is restricted. This results in particular changes on the ECG but no abnormalities in the structure of the heart. Other genes have been described as being involved in Brugada syndrome that produce calcium ion channels and a protein in the cell surface (membrane) that interacts with the sodium channel. They have, however, only been detected in a small number of carriers.

Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT)

Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is a rare condition that has been associated with two genes that make proteins found inside the cell – the human ryanodine receptor (a calcium ion channel) and calsequestrin (a protein that interacts with the calcium channel). These regulate the release of calcium ions into the rest of the cell. […]

Coronary artery anomalies

The heart is a muscle and requires a regular supply of oxygen and nutrients to function. This is supplied by blood carried by two blood vessels known as the left and right coronary arteries. The arteries arise from the left and right side of the body’s main artery, the aorta. In up to 1% of […]

Coronary artery disease

The heart is a muscle and requires a regular supply of oxygen and nutrients to function. A network of blood vessels known as the coronary arteries supplies the heart. The coronary arteries can become narrowed by the build up of fatty deposits in the artery wall, called atherosclerotic plaques. Blood clots can form on these […]

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)

In dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) the main pumping chambers of the heart are dilated and contract poorly. This results in a reduced volume of blood (low output) pumped around the body which fails to meet the body’s demand and features of what is commonly known as heart failure. There is a build up of fluid in […]

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)

Read personal stories from myheart members with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy here. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a condition where the heart muscle becomes thickened. Traditionally, the term HCM was used for disease caused by abnormalities in genes which make the proteins responsible for contraction of the heart (sarcomeric contractile proteins). More recently the definition of HCM has […]

Long QT syndrome (LQTS)

Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is an ion channelopathy. Ion channelopathies (also sometimes referred to as arrhythmia syndromes or cardiac channelopathies)affect the electrical functioning of the heart without affecting the heart’s structure. They are a group of rare genetic conditions that are caused by abnormalities of the DNA known as mutations. They are usually inherited from parents although they can occur for the first time in a person. (If they occur for the first time they are described as sporadic.)

Marfan’s syndrome

Marfan’s syndrome is a disorder that affects many parts of the body including the heart, blood vessels, skeleton, and eyes. One in 5000 people in the United Kingdom have Marfan’s syndrome and both men and women can be affected. People with Marfan’s syndrome produce abnormal connective tissue. Connective tissue helps hold the body together, binding […]

Myocarditis

Read personal stories from myheart members with myocarditis here. The term myocarditis refers to inflammation of the heart muscle. It is most often due to viral illness. Other causes include drug abuse and autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Viral myocarditis is relatively common, but most cases are very mild and never come to the […]

Progressive cardiac conduction defect (PCCD)

Progressive cardiac conduction defect (PCCD) is a rare condition. In people with PCCD, the heart’s electrical impulses are conducted very slowly and this results in the gradual development over time of heart block. (Heart block is a failure of the heart’s electrical impulse to conduct properly from the top chambers [the atria] to the bottom […]

Short QT syndrome (SQTS)

This rare condition is similar to but distinct from long QT syndrome (LQTS). As the name suggests the QT interval in carriers is shorter than in normal people. This means that the heart takes a shorter time to repolarise or reset itself,making it prone to ventricular arrhythmias. There is also an increased risk of a […]

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW)

Read personal stories from myheart member with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome here. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) results from an additional electrical connection between the upper chambers of the heart (atria) and the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). This extra or accessory electrical pathway is present in approximately 1 in every 300-500 people. WPW is rarely inherited through the […]