A comparison of the Netherlands, Norway, and UK Familial Hypercholesterolemia screening programmes with implications for target setting and the UK’s NHS Long Term Plan

Christopher Page, Huiru Zheng, Haiying Wang, Taranjit Singh Rai, Maurice O'Kane, Padraig Hart, Shane McKee, Steven Watterson

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Abstract

We sought to determine the most efficacious and cost-effective strategy to follow when developing a national screening programme by comparing and contrasting the national screening programmes of Norway, the Netherlands and the UK. Comparing the detection rates and screening profiles between the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and constituent nations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) it is clear that maximising the number of relatives screened per index case leads to identification of the greatest proportion of an FH population. The UK has stated targets to detect 25% of the population of England with FH across the 5 years to 2024 with the NHS Long Term Plan. However, this is grossly unrealistic and, based on pre-pandemic rates, will only be reached in the year 2096. We also modelled the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of two screening strategies: 1) Universal screening of 1-2-year-olds, 2) electronic healthcare record screening, in both cases coupled to reverse cascade screening. We found that index case detection from electronic healthcare records was 56% more efficacious than universal screening and, depending on the cascade screening rate of success, 36%-43% more cost-effective per FH case detected. The UK is currently trialling universal screening of 1–2-year-olds to contribute to national FH detection targets. Our modelling suggests that this is not the most efficacious or cost-effective strategy to follow. For countries looking to develop national FH programmes, screening of electronic healthcare records, coupled to successful cascade screening to blood relatives is likely to be a preferable strategy to follow.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalPLOS Global Public Health
Volume3
Issue number4
Early online date25 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 25 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was supported by funding from the Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland, to all authors. It was also supported by funding from the Public Health Agency (PHA) of the Health and Social Care (HSC) R&D Division and
the the Western Health & Social Care Trust (to TSR with award number COM/5618/20).

Copyright: © 2023 Page et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Keywords

  • Familial Hypercholesterolemia
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Screening
  • Cascade Screening
  • CVD

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