Heart conditions are being misdiagnosed as stress

13th July 2017

An estimated 620,000 people in Britain are living with genetically inherited heart problems - yet the vast majority have no idea they are at risk. New research from the British Heart Foundation has revealed six in ten patients living with inherited heart conditions have their symptoms attributed to other conditions before doctors realise what is wrong with them.

The research found that the majority of patients (60%) had initially been diagnosed with another condition. This failure to make a diagnosis and start treatment puts patients at an increased risk of sudden cardiac death.

This research echos Cardiomyopathy UK's own survey of diagnosis experience undertaken in 2015 which showed how stress as well as asthma were often given as an initial diagnosis. The was especially the case for younger people. 

Emma Greenslade and Jayne Partridge Cardiomyopathy UK support nurses commented: “It is paramount to raise awareness across the board of these heart conditions that can have severe consequences if discovered too late. Therefore, it is vital to recognise  symptoms of inherited cardiac conditions ( ICC) in the general population and work with our primary care healthcare professionals so that all patients can be identified and referred to a ICC specialist sooner. Family history information and relevant symptoms in patients and their wider family asked early on may help facilitate early detection of those patients at risk. We believe more research is also needed into gene testing so new ways to target treatments for those diagnosed with inherited cardiac conditions are discovered.”