Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is a dominantly inherited disorder present from birth that markedly elevates plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and causes premature coronary heart disease. There are at least 20 million people with FH worldwide, but the majority remain undetected and current treatment is often suboptimal. To address this major gap in coronary prevention we present, from an international perspective, consensus-based guidance on the care of FH.

The FH Australasia Network (Australian Atherosclerosis Society) has developed a consensus model of care (MoC) for FH. The MoC is based on clinical experience, expert opinion, published evidence and consultations with a wide spectrum of stakeholders, and has been developed for use primarily by specialist centres intending starting a clinical service for FH. This MoC aims to provide a standardised, high-quality and cost-effective system of care that is likely to have the highest impact on patient outcomes.

The MoC for FH is presented as a series of recommendations and algorithms focusing on the standards required for the detection, diagnosis, assessment and management of FH in adults and children. The process involved in cascade screening and risk notification, the backbone for detecting new cases of FH, is detailed. Guidance on treatment is based on risk stratifying patients, management of non-cholesterol risk factors, safe and effective use of statins, and a rational approach to follow-up of patients. Clinical and laboratory recommendations are given for genetic testing. An integrative system for providing best clinical care is described. This MoC for FH is not prescriptive and needs to be complemented by good clinical judgment and adjusted for local needs and resources. After initial implementation, the MoC will require critical evaluation, development and appropriate modification.

Familial hypercholesterolaemia: A model of care for Australasia now e-published and in print (Watts et al Athero Suppl 2011; 12(2):221-231)

Integrated guidance on the care of familial hypercholesterolaemia from the International FH Foundation now e-published (Watts et al Int J Cardiol. 2013 Nov 20)

Useful topics on this site:

How to diagnose FH | How to manage FH | Information sheets for patients