How can teenagers get heart attacks

Early family history of heart attack: Children should be screened for risk factors

15.12.2016

After an extensive investigation, English experts conclude that early heart attacks caused by certain inherited diseases, such as hypercholesterolemia, could be better prevented by routine examination during childhood vaccinations.

According to a study led by researchers at Queen Mary University in London (QMUL), which included more than 10,000 children, hereditary risk factors for heart attacks can be successfully detected within families if one to two year old children are routinely screened for their vaccinations .

Early heart attacks or heart disease are often due to familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic disorder that is associated with high cholesterol levels. Without treatment, young FH adults under the age of 40 have an approximately ten-fold increased risk of having a heart attack.

In the largest study to date of cholesterol and FH mutations in children, it found that the prevalence of FH mutations in children is around 1 in 270 - almost twice as high as previously thought (1 in 500).
If a child is diagnosed with the disorder, a parent is likely to be affected as well. Therefore, two generations should be tested for this risk at the same time (parent-child screening), the authors recommend. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
As soon as an FH-positive child was found, the British experts contacted the parents and asked them to investigate. At the same time, a parent who was positive for a FH could be identified. Mathematically, they diagnose one patient with a high risk of an early heart attack for every 125 people tested.

In this way, both children and parents with this dangerous genetic disposition could be recognized at an early stage, and preventive measures could be taken in good time. FH patients should take medications such as statins and also watch their diet. Adolescents and adults with FH should also refrain from smoking.

Professor Wald added: "This is an example of an effective screening strategy that can be combined with routine vaccination and that has clear benefits. No additional clinic visits are required and parents are happy to participate as they already have the health of theirs Keep an eye on the child and their family when they visit the doctor. This unique service when visiting a pediatrician does not require any new clinical infrastructure and is easy and inexpensive to implement. "

Source: Medical News Today, New England Journal of Medicine