Ingrid's Story

Ingrid is a Viking Health Study - Shetland volunteer. When she heard we were looking for new volunteers for VIKING II, she shared her story, showing the benefits of receiving actionable genetic results.

Photo of Ingrid Steward and her daughter on a yellow/green sofa.

I have lived in Aberdeenshire for over 30 years, but prior to that was brought up in Lerwick, Shetland. Both sides of my family are from Shetland, for as far back as we can trace.  My parents both took part in the Viking Health Study - Shetland and received their results. When I heard they were calling for additional volunteers I thought I would do it too. I thought it would be interesting to take part, predominantly as it looked like a free medical!

I received a great report on my overall health and I filed it away at the time thinking I would never see it again.  However, several years later I was contacted by my GP, as they had received notification of a potentially rare genetic mutation via the Viking Health Study - Shetland.  An ECG, a full heart MRI and some genetic testing later, it was discovered I had Long QT. It's a genetic condition which can cause an erratic heartbeat but one that is very difficult to spot using standard medical tests. Through genetic testing we have since discovered my father and my 9 year old daughter both have the same genetic mutation. Thankfully no one else in our immediate  family was found to be carrying this gene.

Both myself and my daughter now take daily beta blockers to control our heart rhythm and see a cardiologist every 6-12 months. Neither of us have ever had any symptoms and live very fit and healthy lives. We will never be certain, but it is possible that taking part in this survey has saved our lives.  Long QT is the type of condition that you don’t often find out you have until it is too late. Thankfully with the medication we are on we are both able to continue to do all the things we love, including running and, in the case of my daughter, football and swimming.  I can’t recommend this survey enough, you just never know what you might find out!

Ingrid was told about Long QT thanks to research conducted by the team in 2018, and published in 2019. If you'd like to read more about this research, visit the link below.

Rare Ancestral Variant found in VIKING Health Study