Researchers have developed a new test for every known inherited heart condition, it was announced on Friday.
An international team has shown that they can use a simple blood test to "reliably test for all known inherited heart condition genes," the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said in a news release.
The BHF said that this new procedure is "quicker and more reliable than previous tests," enabling costs to be reduced.
Inherited heart conditions affect a person's heart and circulatory system and can hit people of all ages -- sometimes fatally. The BHF says that, often, the first sign of an inherited condition is when somebody dies suddenly and with "no obvious explanation."
"Genetic tests are invaluable when managing inherited heart conditions," James Ware, one of the lead researchers on the study and a consultant cardiologist at London's Royal Brompton Hospital, said.
"They can help to make the initial diagnosis, and to choose the best treatment for the affected person," Ware added, before going on to explain that the biggest impact of such tests would be looking after an affected person's family.
The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust said that around 40 people a month were now being tested there using the new technique. With just one test, 174 faulty genes associated with inherited cardiac conditions (ICCs) – including hearth rhythm problems and diseases affecting the aorta – can be detected, the Trust added.