Heart disease

More than a million people in the UK have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) - the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart rhythm).

Aside from the uncomfortable symptoms of palpitations, breathlessness and tiredness that accompany AF, it causes almost one-third of strokes, and can lead to clots in the bloodstream as well as other major complications.

Sudden cardiac death kills 100,000 people every year in the UK. In the older population this is often due to heart attacks. In younger people this is often due to an unidentified inherited cardiovascular disease. Every week in the UK, 12 apparently fit and healthy under 35-year-olds die from undiagnosed cardiac conditions. Vital research into these conditions is needed to prevent these deaths.

The University has a long-standing tradition of academic excellence in Medicine. Our links with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham - one of the largest hospitals in Europe - facilitates innovative collaborations and provides access to a specialised cardiovascular unit. Birmingham’s large and diverse population offers many people the opportunity to participate in potentially lifesaving clinical trials.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham are making excellent progress in determining novel genetic causes of atrial fibrillation and cardiac death related to atrial fibrillation. Additional funding will allow scientists to continue to analyse the nature and structure of patient genomes to keep up momentum in the fight against heart disease. 

Donations are needed to advance this inspiring work. Funding key equipment and core staffing can also unlock other official funding streams, meaning that every pound donated could be tripled in value. Supporting work to identify a causative gene defect will allow us to further understand the mechanisms that underpin AF and sudden cardiac death – and will have immediate impact for the families affected by these devastating conditions.

How you can help

Email giving@contacts.bham.ac.uk, or make a donation today at www.bhamalumni.org/givenow.