The role of registries and genetic databases in familial hypercholesterolemia

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review how leveraging familial hypercholesterolemia registries can impact molecular genetic research and precision medicine.

Recent findings

Familial hypercholesterolemia is both much more common and more phenotypically heterogeneous than previously thought with some evidence for significant genotype to phenotype correlations. Genetic testing for familial hypercholesterolemia is becoming both more widely available and cheaper, spurring conversations about its clinical utility.

Summary

In most countries, familial hypercholesterolemia is underdiagnosed and diagnosed later in life, often after the onset of coronary heart disease (CHD). Familial hypercholesterolemia is undertreated; low goal attainment and additional modifiable risk factors further increase CHD risk. Familial hypercholesterolemia epitomizes the goal of precision medicine to define a subset of individuals with a high risk of morbidity and mortality through genetic diagnosis to manage and treat the risk accordingly. Genetic cascade screening can be used to identify familial hypercholesterolemia patients at a younger age and start timely treatment to prevent CHD. Familial hypercholesterolemia registries are tools for clinical research and improving healthcare planning and patient care. As genotype and phenotype correlations in familial hypercholesterolemia become increasingly understood, this information will likely play a more important role in diagnosis and treatment especially as the cost of genetic testing continues to decline.

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