The Role of Genetics in Cardiovascular Risk Reduction: Findings From a Single Lipid Clinic and Review of the Literature

Cardiovasc Revasc Med. 2020 Feb;21(2):200-204. doi: 10.1016/j.carrev.2019.04.006. Epub 2019 May 8.


Background: Genetic information is not routinely obtained in the management of most lipid disorders or in primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). We sought to determine the prevalence of pathogenic variants associated with lipoprotein metabolism or coronary artery disease (CAD) in a single lipid clinic and discuss the future use of genetic information in CVD prevention.

Methods: Genetic testing was offered to patients with hypertriglyceridemia (defined as pre-treatment fasting triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL), elevated LDL-C (defined as pre-treatment ≥190 mg/dL), low HDL-C (defined as ≤40 mg/dL), elevated lipoprotein (a) (defined as ≥50 mg/dL or 100 nmol/L) or premature CAD (defined as an acute coronary syndrome or revascularization before age 40 years in men and 50 years in women) using next-generation DNA sequencing of 327 exons and selected variants in 129 genes known or suspected to be associated with lipoprotein metabolism or CAD.

Results: 82 of 84 patients (97.6%) were found to have a variant associated with abnormal lipid metabolism or CAD. The most common pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants included those of the LDL receptor (15 patients) and lipoprotein lipase (9 patients). Other common variants included those of apolipoprotein A5 (14 patients) and variants associated with elevated lipoprotein (a) (25 patients).

Conclusions: The majority of patients presenting to a single lipid clinic were found to have at least one variant associated with abnormal lipoprotein metabolism or CAD. Incorporating genetic information, including the use of genetic risk scores, is anticipated in the future care of lipid disorders and CVD prevention.

Keywords: Genetic risk score; Polygenic lipid disorder; Variant of lipoprotein metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease / genetics*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / diagnosis
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / genetics*
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / therapy
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoprotein(a) / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • LPA protein, human
  • Lipids
  • Lipoprotein(a)
  • Triglycerides