New child screening service to identify youngsters at risk of early heart disease


Posted on 21 July 2021 (Permalink)

As part of the Child-Parent Screening programme, the WMAHSN will support GP practices across the region to implement a clinical pathway which will identify children with FH through a simple heel prick blood test, taken at the child’s routine one year immunisation appointment. 

 

What does child-parent screening involve? 

Child-parent screening offers a population wide, low-cost solution to the management of CVD and is currently the best model for FH detection. 

With parental consent, a child is tested for FH at their routine 1 year immunisation visit using a Point of Care heel prick capillary test. Evidence shows that age one is when cholesterol measurement discriminates best between individuals with and without FH and screening newborns or adults is less effective. A small blood sample is taken and from this total cholesterol can be measured.  

In those children with a reading of >95 percentile, further genetic testing can be undertaken. If the child receives a diagnosis of FH, at least one of the parents will also be positive. Siblings and second degree relatives can also be counselled, screened and treated as necessary. 

Adults identified as having FH will receive statins immediately. Children will be given dietary advice and will be regularly monitored. Statins may then be started around age 10.  

 

Programme Benefits 

Child-parent screening offers an equitable approach to FH identification and can detect up to 90% of affected people. One study found that for every 1,000 children screened, 8 people (4 children and 4 adults) were identified as having FH and could begin potentially life saving medication and/or lifestyle and dietary changes.  

Without treatment, FH can lead to heart disease at a young age. Identifying affected individuals before the onset of disease is important because treatments can be put in place that promote a healthy, active life and lowers blood cholesterol levels, all of which substantially reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Where a child is identified as having FH, parents, siblings and grandparents can also be tested as necessary potentially identifying full families who have FH. Age appropriate medication and advice can then be offered to families to reduce the risk of cardiac disease. 

 

CPS National Pilot 

The Child-Parent Screening programme is currently being piloted, initially for 24 months, across seven of the AHSN sites including: 

 

·       AHSN for the North East and North Cumbria

·       Innovation Agency (AHSN for the North West Coast)

·       West Midlands AHSN 

·       West of England AHSN 

·       Oxford AHSN 

·       Imperial College Health Partners 

·       Eastern AHSN 

 

If you would like further information about the Child Parent Screening programme, please contact Sarah at sarah.wootton@wmahsn.org.