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Keywords:

  • Homocysteine;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • folic acid;
  • B vitamins

Purpose

To review the literature for, and provide advanced practice nurses (APNs) with, current recommendations for screening and treatment of hyperhomocysteinemia.

Data sources

Medscape literature search of selected research studies and related journal articles.

Conclusions

While data from most epidemiologic studies support the argument that hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the debate continues as to when screening and treating patients is appropriate. The consensus is that more randomized controlled trials are needed to further study the benefits of routine screening and the efficacy of treating hyperhomocysteinemia.

Implications for practice

Until the results of ongoing clinical trials are available, APNs should follow the American Heart Association guidelines for screening for elevated levels of homocysteine and continue to promote a well-balanced diet that includes foods rich in folic acid as part of health promotion through primary prevention.