Infant checks may cut the risk of CHD

GPs should screen infants for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) to prevent fatal CHD in young adults, claim UK experts.

Measuring serum total cholesterol at 15 months, when infants are due their MMR vaccine, could identify those at risk, so control of cholesterol can begin in early adulthood.

Additionally, parents of children who test positive for FH could also be screened. The parent with the highest serum cholesterol is also likely to have FH, says the team from Barts and the London School of Medicine.

The strategy follows a meta-analysis of published data on cholesterol levels of people with FH according to age.

In infants, a total cholesterol cut-off of 1.53 multiples of the median will result in a detection rate of 88 per cent and a false positive rate of just 0.1 per cent.

Screening parents considered at high risk could pick up 90 per cent of cases.

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