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Uptake of Huntington disease predictive testing in a complete population


Prof Patrick Morrison, Regional Medical Genetics Centre, Belfast City Hospital HSC Trust, Belfast BT9 7AB, UK.
Tel.: +44 (0) 28 9026 3872;
fax: +44 (0) 28 9023 6911;


Morrison PJ, Harding-Lester S, Bradley A. Uptake of Huntington disease predictive testing in a complete population.

Using the Northern Ireland Huntington disease (HD) register, the number of prospectively recorded predictive tests was analysed over a 20-year period. Two hundred and twelve patients completed predictive testing. Ninety-two (43%) received mutation-positive results and 119 (56%) mutation negative. There was one intermediate allele result. There was no significant gender difference. One hundred and eighty affected cases confirmed by molecular genetic testing were alive on 1 January 2001. The uptake of predictive testing in the entire HD 50% at-risk population in 2001 was calculated by three methods giving a range of 12.3–14.6%. Uptake after 20 years was estimated to be 14.7%. The minimum prevalence of affected HD cases was calculated as 10.6/100,000 in 2001. The total uptake of predictive testing was calculated and it suggests that a substantial number of at-risk patients do not come forward for testing until symptomatic. Pre-symptomatic testing for this late-onset condition with no present treatment, and limited management options, still presents challenges for families.