Background Early identification and treatment of individuals with elevated levels of atherogenic cholesterol have been shown to be effective and safe in reducing morbidity and mortality, especially in familial hypercholesterolemia. To better inform providers and identify children and adolescents at risk of premature cardiovascular disease, in November 2011, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) published guidelines recommending cholesterol screening of all children aged between 9 to 11 and 17 to 21 years regardless of the child's general health or the presence or the absence of cardiovascular disease risk factors. Objective To compare the number of 9- to 11-year-old children screened for hypercholesterolemia in 5 community-based ambulatory pediatric clinics before and after publication of the NHLBI's guidelines. Methods Practice demographics, screening frequency, and test results for each clinic were collected before and after publication of the NHLBI's recommendation. Provider education was provided between measures. Results Of all eligible 9- to 11-year-old children, 489 (17.1%) were screened before and 686 (20.1%) after the NHLBI's guidelines and provider education. Conclusions Baseline rates of lipid screening for the 5 community-based ambulatory pediatric clinics were higher than those previously reported and increased significantly after publication of the NHLBI's recommendations and provider education. However, overall screening rates remained low. Given the high prevalence of premature cardiovascular disease associated with atherogenic cholesterol, especially familial hypercholesterolemia, additional strategies are needed to improve screening rates.
- Familial hypercholesterolemia
- Universal screening