Channel 4, in partnership with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), has announced 24 Hours in A&E: Heart Special, set to air on Channel 4 on Friday 20th March at 8pm. The special episode will revisit and update on the stories of three people who previously appeared in the award-winning series when admitted to A&E with serious heart conditions.
This pioneering Heart Special provides the BHF with the opportunity to raise awareness and increase support for its research to save and improve lives. More than seven million people are living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, every hour 19 people in the UK die from heart and circulatory disease.
Corey was brought to St George’s Hospital in 2017 after he collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest at just 24 years old. He was placed in an induced coma for four days and was diagnosed with a rare inherited heart condition called Brugada Syndrome, which affects the electrical activity of the heart and can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death. Just a few weeks ago, Corey suffered another cardiac arrest, aged 27. However, thanks to the Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) – a small device which analyses and treats dangerous heart rhythms by delivering a controlled shock – he was back on his feet after 15 minutes. Corey has huge hopes that in the future a cure will be found for his condition, which the BHF is funding research into.
After feeling unwell at a family BBQ, Angie took herself to St George’s A&E in 2016 where it was found she had a very fast heart rate. She had already been diagnosed with a faulty LMNA gene which causes a condition called cardiomyopathy. Doctors were unable to bring her heart rate down with intravenous medication, so this left them with no choice but to administer an external controlled shock to her heart to bring it back to a normal rhythm. As her heart rate still occasionally increases to an unsafe rate, she now has an ICD, as does her son who inherited the faulty LMNA gene.
BHF-funded research has helped discover many of the genes involved in cardiomyopathies. This has paved the way for genetic testing services for families like Angie’s to ensure they get the treatment that could prevent a sudden cardiac arrest.
In 2017 Steve attended St George’s A&E when he noticed that his heart rate had doubled within an hour. Having suffered a stroke just weeks earlier, and with a history of heart attacks in his family including his brother at only 44-years-old, Steve was worried that there was something seriously wrong. After a series of follow-up tests Steve was also found to have a tumour (mass) near his heart. Since then Steve has had heart surgery to remove the mass.
Channel 4 Documentaries commissioning editor Rita Daniels said: “We are thrilled to be working with BHF on this heart special. In this poignant episode of 24 hours in A&E we revisit stories of those who have been treated at St George’s and see where they are now, which demonstrates the incredible work the staff do there every day. It’s a stark reminder that heart conditions don’t discriminate, and we hope this episode raises awareness.”
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “The Heart Special is a great opportunity to demonstrate how BHF-funded research and innovation has led to life saving treatments for people with heart and circulatory problems. From pacemakers to heart transplants, genetic testing to statins, our research has been vital to many breakthroughs. But as 24 hours in A&E shows, people are still attending hospital with heart and circulatory conditions every day, and there are more life changing, lifesaving advances to make. We hope the programme will inspire more support for our pioneering research to beat heartbreak forever.”
24 Hours in A&E: Heart Special will be made by The Garden with executive producer Spencer Kelly.
Viewers will also hear more from the loved ones of the patients that feature in this special episode in a series of BHF ads that will air at the start of each ad break throughout the programme. Produced by The Garden, the ads will encourage viewers to donate to the charity’s research.