British Heart Foundation NI highlights faulty gene risk

British Heart Foundation NI highlights faulty gene risk

Hilary Niblock

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Hilary Niblock said more research is needed so no family has to suffer the loss of their child so unexpectedly

One young person dies every month from an undiagnosed heart condition in Northern Ireland, according to the British Heart Foundation NI.

The charity says a faulty gene can put people at high risk of a heart attack as well as other non-genetic heart defects, like abnormal heart rhythms.

It estimates that about 17,500 people in NI are living with a faulty gene.

Kris Niblock from Lisburn collapsed and died just a few days before his 21st birthday in the summer of 2014.

“His friend came running in and said Kris is lying at the side of the car. We thought maybe he’s been electrocuted. The ambulance came and rushed him to Lagan Valley Hospital,” his mother Hilary said.

“When he got there they must have worked on him for two to three hours but there was nothing more they could do. Nothing can prepare you hearing that. I just kept thinking this can’t be happening.”

The Niblock family were all tested for an inherited heart condition but later discovered Kris’s death was due to an electrical fault in his heart.

“I know now there was nothing we could have done but you’re tortured by thoughts of what if? What if we had known?” Mrs Niblock said.

“Kris was my youngest and was the wee boy I had always wanted. I always felt he was someone special.

“Everyone who knew him talks about his big smile. He was so quiet and unassuming and would have done anything for anyone.

“I don’t want any family to go through what we’ve gone through. More research is needed so no family has to suffer the loss of their child so unexpectedly.”

Source: BBC News – Northern Ireland

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