Are Genetic Tests for Atherosclerosis Ready for Routine Clinical Use?

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Abstract

In this review, we lay out 3 areas currently being evaluated for incorporation of genetic information into clinical practice related to atherosclerosis. The first, familial hypercholesterolemia, is the clearest case for utility of genetic testing in diagnosis and potentially guiding treatment. Already in use for confirmatory testing of familial hypercholesterolemia and for cascade screening of relatives, genetic testing is likely to expand to help establish diagnoses and facilitate research related to most effective therapies, including new agents, such as PCSK9 inhibitors. The second area, adding genetic information to cardiovascular risk prediction for primary prevention, is not currently recommended. Although identification of additional variants may add substantially to prediction in the future, combining known variants has not yet demonstrated sufficient improvement in prediction for incorporation into commonly used risk scores. The third area, pharmacogenetics, has utility for some therapies today. Future utility for pharmacogenetics will wax or wane depending on the nature of available drugs and therapeutic strategies.

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