Determining the effects and challenges of incorporating genetic testing into primary care management of hypertensive patients with African ancestry

Contemp Clin Trials. 2016 Mar:47:101-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2015.12.020. Epub 2015 Dec 30.


People of African ancestry (Blacks) have increased risk of kidney failure due to numerous socioeconomic, environmental, and clinical factors. Two variants in the APOL1 gene are now thought to account for much of the racial disparity associated with hypertensive kidney failure in Blacks. However, this knowledge has not been translated into clinical care to help improve patient outcomes and address disparities. GUARDD is a randomized trial to evaluate the effects and challenges of incorporating genetic risk information into primary care. Hypertensive, non-diabetic, adults with self-reported African ancestry, without kidney dysfunction, are recruited from diverse clinical settings and randomized to undergo APOL1 genetic testing at baseline (intervention) or at one year (waitlist control). Providers are educated about genomics and APOL1. Guided by a genetic counselor, trained staff return APOL1 results to patients and provide low-literacy educational materials. Real-time clinical decision support tools alert clinicians of their patients' APOL1 results and associated risk status at the point of care. Our academic-community-clinical partnership designed a study to generate information about the impact of genetic risk information on patient care (blood pressure and renal surveillance) and on patient and provider knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. GUARDD will help establish the effective implementation of APOL1 risk-informed management of hypertensive patients at high risk of CKD, and will provide a robust framework for future endeavors to implement genomic medicine in diverse clinical practices. It will also add to the important dialog about factors that contribute to and may help eliminate racial disparities in kidney disease.

Keywords: African ancestry; Chronic kidney disease; Community-based research; Disparities; Genetics; Race.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apolipoprotein L1
  • Apolipoproteins / genetics*
  • Black or African American / genetics*
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Genetic Counseling / methods
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / genetics*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / genetics*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Young Adult


  • APOL1 protein, human
  • Apolipoprotein L1
  • Apolipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, HDL