Patients and families

Living with IHRC

Inherited heart rhythm conditions increase the risk of dangerous fast heart rhythms that may cause fainting, blackouts or, in the most severe cases, sudden cardiac arrest.

However, it is common for a condition not to cause any symptoms on a day-to-day basis and many people with an inherited heart rhythm condition lead very normal lives. Some people may take medication to reduce the risk of dangerous heart rhythms or, less commonly, an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) may be recommended. This is a device that will detect and treat life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms. While some occupations and activities may be restricted for those with an ICD, many people live a normal life with their ICD.

How could IHRC affect my family?

The diagnosis of an inherited heart rhythm condition in a family member may provoke concern for the person affected but also anxiety that other people in the family could be at risk.

Therefore, it is recommended that close relatives be checked for the same condition. There can be significant variation in the severity of a condition even between close relatives and this can sometimes be confusing. Family members may wish to learn more about the specific condition affecting their relative, in particular the symptoms or signs to look out for. Some may even decide to learn basic life support skills to use in the event of a cardiac arrest. Feelings of guilt and concern, particularly for parents of a diagnosed child, are normal but it is important to remember that many of these conditions can be managed and that family support is available.