Just because someone in your family has a cardiac inherited disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will as well – but it’s definitely worth getting tested.

Your genes are like a blueprint for your body, and sometimes they contain slight errors or ‘mutations’. Because they’re part of your genetic makeup, you become what’s known as a ‘carrier’ and can pass them along to your children. Most of the inherited conditions CIDG deals with have what we call ‘autosomal dominant inheritance’. What this means is that a child born to a parent who is a gene carrier for a particular condition has a 50% chance of inheriting that gene themselves.

If, for instance, one of your siblings has been diagnosed with a cardiac inherited disease, they will have likely (not always) inherited it from one of your parents and it means you also have a 50% chance of carrying that gene. If it is your child, they will have likely inherited it from one of their parents, and this may have implications for the rest of that side of the family.

On average, about half the family members will carry the gene. But because these conditions have ‘variable expression’, the condition might not manifest in the same way for everyone. That means that it’s possible for someone to be severely affected, while someone else in the same family shows no symptoms at all.

If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with a cardiac inherited disease, you can also be tested for the gene by a simple blood test. This is up to you, but it will let you know if you carry the gene as well. It won’t be able to tell you how likely you are to develop symptoms, or how severe they may be, but it may enable your specialist to put preventative measures in place.

More information on this you may contact your regional co-ordinator to discuss further.