Posts Tagged ‘Heart Hospital’

Implications of Inheritance for Clinical Management: Common Cardiovascular Disorders When There Is a Family History

Reporter: Aviva Lev- Ari, PhD, RN


A Clinical Approach to Common Cardiovascular Disorders When There Is a Family History:  The Implications of Inheritance for Clinical Management

Srijita Sen-Chowdhry, MBBS, MD, FESC, Daniel Jacoby, MD and William J. McKenna, MD, DSc, FESC

Author Affiliations

From the Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom (S.S-C., W.J.M.); Department of Epidemiology, Imperial College, London, London, United Kingdom (S.S-C.); Division of Cardiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT (D.J., W.J.M.).

Correspondence to Professor William J. McKenna, MD, DSc, FESC, Institute of Cardiovascular Science, University College London, The Heart Hospital, 16-18 Westmoreland Street, London, E-mail william.mckenna@uclh.nhs.uk


Since the advent of genotyping, recognition of heritable disease has been perceived as an opportunity for genetic diagnosis or new gene identification studies to advance understanding of pathogenesis. Until recently, however, clinical application of DNA-based testing was confined largely to Mendelian disorders. Even within this remit, predictive testing of relatives is cost-effective only in diseases in which the majority of families harbor mutations in known causal genes, such as adult polycystic kidney disease and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but not dilated cardiomyopathy. Confirmatory genetic testing of index cases with borderline clinical features may be economic in the still smaller subset of diseases with limited locus heterogeneity, such as Marfan syndrome. Furthermore, Mendelian diseases account for ≈5% of total disease burden.1 Genome-wide association studies have made headway in elucidating the genetic contribution to the more common, complex diseases, and high throughput techniques promise to facilitate integration of genetic analysis into clinical practice. Nevertheless, many genes remain to be identified and implementation of genomic profiling as a population screening tool would not be cost-effective at present. The implications of heredity, however, extend beyond serving as a platform for genetic analysis, influencing diagnosis, prognostication, and treatment of both index cases and relatives, and enabling rational targeting of genotyping resources. This review covers acquisition of a family history, evaluation of heritability and inheritance patterns, and the impact of inheritance on subsequent components of the clinical pathway.


Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics.2012; 5: 467-476

doi: 10.1161/ CIRCGENETICS.110.959361


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