Healthcare Utilization and Patients’ Perspectives After Receiving a Positive Genetic Test for Familial Hypercholesterolemia: A Pilot Study

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The MyCode Community Health Initiative (MyCode) is returning actionable results from whole exome sequencing. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an inherited condition characterized by premature cardiovascular disease.


We used multiple methods to assess care in 28 MyCode participants who received FH results. Chart reviews were conducted on 23 individuals in the sample and 7 individuals participated semistructured interviews.


Chart reviews for 23 individuals with a Geisinger primary care provider found that 4 individuals (17% of 23) were at LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) goal (of either LDL-C <100 mg/dL for primary prevention and LDL-C <70 mg/dL for secondary prevention) and 17 individuals (74% of 23) were prescribed lipid-lowering therapy before genetic result disclosure. After disclosure of the genetic test result, 5 individuals (22% of 23) met their LDL-C goal and 18 individuals (78% of 23) were prescribed lipid-lowering therapy. Follow-up care about this result was not documented for 4 individuals (17% of 23). Changes to intensity of medication management were made for 8 individuals (47% of 17 individuals previously prescribed lipid-lowering therapy). Interviewed individuals (n=7) were not surprised by their result as all knew they had high cholesterol; however, individuals did not seem to discern FH as a separate condition from their high cholesterol.


Among individuals receiving genetic diagnosis of FH, >25% had no changes to lipid-lowering therapy, despite not being at LDL-C goal and learning their high cholesterol is related to a genetic condition requiring more aggressive treatment. Individuals and clinicians may have an inadequate understanding of FH as a distinct condition requiring enhanced medical management.

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