How Can We Identify Very High-Risk Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia?

Kataoka Y, Funabashi S, Doi T, et al.


J Atheroscler Thromb

First published: January 13, 2022  DOI: 10.5551/jat.RV17063


Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) is a genetic disorder that elevates low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increases the risk of premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). However, despite their atherogenic lipid profiles, the cardiovascular risk of HeFH varies in each individual. Their variety of phenotypic features suggests the need for better risk stratification to optimize their therapeutic management. The current review summarizes three potential approaches, including (1) definition of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH)-related risk scores, (2) genetic analysis, and (3) biomarkers. The International Atherosclerosis Society has recently proposed a definition of severe FH to identify very high-risk HeFH subjects according to their clinical characteristics. Furthermore, published studies have shown the association of FH-related genetic phenotypes with ASCVD, which indicates the genetic analysis’s potential to evaluate individual cardiovascular risks. Biomarkers reflecting disease activity have been considered to predict the formation of atherosclerosis and the occurrence of ASCVD in HeFH subjects. Incorporating these risk stratifications will be expected to allocate adequate intensity of lipid-lowering therapies in HeFH subjects, which ultimately improves cardiovascular outcomes.

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