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GPs to take central role in FH screening programme

By Nigel Praities

GPs will play a major role in screening children at risk of familial hypercholesterolaemia in NICE guidelines due to be released next week.

Around one in 500 people have FH, but only around 10% of these have been identified with the potentially life-threatening genetic disorder.

The new guidance from NICE hopes to improve the identification of people with FH and recommends all children with affected parents should be referred for a genetic test before the age of 10.

Dr Jonathan Morrell, a GP in Hastings, East Sussex, and a hospital practitioner in cardiology, said the average practice may have several families on their lists affected by the disease and GPs would not be expected to refer them for genetic testing.

‘No GPs are doing gene testing and a lot will not think of the wider implications in the family. But these new guidelines will mean primary care will have to identify patients with FH and then ensure their families have gene testing,' he said.

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