Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery has called for “essential” protection for science funding after learning that up to 12,690 of his constituents may have heart problems.
The politician was presented with the estimate by British Heart Foundation (BHF) scientists at a parliamentary event.
Mr Lavery said: “Those figures are way too high and we must all work together to support and fund vital research work that could save countless lives in the future.
“It is essential that the Government ring-fences the science budget if we are to continue to make great strides in heart research.”
He added: “Much more research is needed if we are to continue helping millions of families.”
The BHF is the largest independent funder of cardio-vascular research, spending around £100m on studies to prevent, diagnose and treat heart conditions.