Genetic Testing Preferences and Intentions in U.S. Patients with Clinically Diagnosed Familial Hypercholesterolemia

Hannah Wand, Amy C. Sturm, Lori Erby, Iris Kindt, William M.P. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a common Mendelian disorder characterized by elevated LDL cholesterol levels, which if untreated can cause premature heart disease. Less than 10% of cases in the US are diagnosed, and uptake of genetic testing is suboptimal. This study investigates decisionmaking factors associated with intentions to have FH genetic testing among patients clinically diagnosed with FH. Methods Clinically diagnosed adults with FH and no genetic testing were recruited through the FH Foundation and lipid clinics. Participants completed a survey containing items capturing various reasons to engage in genetic testing. Results Exploratory factor analysis of survey items identified three factors: (1) aversion to FH genetic information, (2) curiosity regarding medical/family history, (3) and psychological reassurance. Psychological reassurance was, in turn, the only significant predictor of genetic testing intentions. The effect of reassurance was qualified by aversion such that the inverse association between aversion and genetic testing intentions was greater among those with low perceived reassurance. Conclusion Findings suggest that clinically diagnosed patients’ decisions about FH genetic testing are driven principally by psychological reassurance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Mar 28 2019


  • clinical diagnosis
  • decision making
  • familial hypercholesterolemia
  • genetic diagnosis
  • genetic testing intentions
  • genetic testing predictors
  • genetic testing utility
  • patient preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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