A family history of coronary heart disease (CHD) is an accepted risk factor for cardiovascular events and is independent of common CHD risk factors. Advances in the understanding of genetic influences on CHD risk provide the opportunity to apply this knowledge and improve patient care. Utility of inherited cardiovascular risk testing exists by utilizing both phenotypes and genotypes and includes improved CHD risk prediction, selection of the most appropriate treatment, prediction of outcome, and family counseling. The major impediment to widespread clinical adoption of this concept involves un-reimbursed staff time, educational needs, access to a standardized and efficient assessment mechanism, and privacy issues. The link between CHD and inheritance is indisputable and the evidence strong and consistent. For clinicians, the question is how to utilize this information, in an efficient manner, in order to improve patient care and detection of high-risk family members. Copyright © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Robert Superko has no conflicts. Lakshmana Pendyala has no conflicts. Brenda Garrett is a consultant for CardioDx. Spencer King has no conflicts.
Supported in part by FEMA grant No. 2006-FP-01744 and the Cholesterol, Genetics and Heart Disease Institute.