Cholesterol screening and family history of vascular disease

ED Primrose, JM Savage, CA Boreham, GW Cran, JJ Strain

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Hypercholesterolaemia is a major risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). Early detection and management of hypercholesterolaemia could retard the atherosclerotic process. Given that CHD and hypercholesterolaemia cluster within families, a screening strategy based on a family history of vascular disease has been advocated. Serum total cholesterol concentrations were measured in a random stratified sample of 1012 children aged from 12-15 years old participating in a coronary risk factor surveillance Ireland. Information disease in close family members was obtained by means of a questionnaire. The study population was divided into two groups according to total cholesterol values: (i) normal, <5.2 mmol/l (n=822) and (ii) raised, greater than or equal to 5.2 mmol/l (n=190). A family history identified 63 out of 190 individuals with hypercholesterolaemia yielding a sensitivity of 33.2% and specificity of 71.5%. Our data indicated that a strategy whereby only children from high risk families are screened for hypercholesterolaemia is ineffective. While primary prevention emphasising a healthy diet for all is essential, the role of universal screening deserves further appraisal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-242
JournalArchives of disease in childhood
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Sept 1994


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