Genetic stratification for primary prevention of coronary artery disease

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review the literature showing genetic risk variants is a reliable means of stratifying for risk of CAD for primary prevention.

Recent findings

Over 90 genetic risk variants have been discovered that predispose to CAD. Results of several studies show that these risk variants effectively stratify for risk of CAD in asymptomatic individuals.

Summary

The total individual genetic risk can be summarized into a single number referred to as the genetic risk score (GRS). The GRS unlike the Framingham Risk Score is not dependent on age and independent of conventional risk factors. As DNA does not change during one's lifetime the GRS can be calculated at birth or any time thereafter. Furthermore, the GRS has been shown to provide superior discriminatory power in selecting individuals who will benefit most from lifestyle changes or statin therapy. A prospective study showed individuals with high GRS and a favorable lifestyle was associated with significant reduction of cardiac events compared with an unfavorable lifestyle. Furthermore, the study shows inherited risk can be reduced analogous to reduction of risk form acquired and environmental factors. The use of GRS to stratify for risk of CAD in asymptomatic individuals could transform primary prevention worldwide.

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