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ECG 'does not rule out heart failure'

One in four healthy people with siblings who developed premature cardiovascular disease will themselves be at high risk and should be targeted for preventive treatment, a new study concludes.

Taking greater account of family history would be a heavy financial burden, the

authors admitted, but they said the benefits in years of life saved would be 'high'.

The study analysed data from 675 unaffected siblings of patients who had developed cardiovascular disease prematurely – defined as under 55 for men or 60 for women.

Among the siblings, whose average age was 55, 24 per cent had a 10-year risk of dying from coronary heart disease of 15 per cent or over and 2 per cent had a risk of over 30 per cent, based on Joint British Societies guidelines.

The study, presented at last week's European Society of Cardiology congress in Mun-ich, concluded: 'These individuals should be considered for multiple risk factor intervention.'

Lead researcher Dr Paul Horan, a cardiologist at Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, said: 'I don't think we expected so many people to be eligible for primary preventive treatment.'

He added family history could help GPs decide whether to prescribe drug and lifestyle therapies.

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