Awareness of familial hypercholesterolaemia in Australian primary care: A qualitative descriptive study

Aust J Gen Pract. 2021 Sep;50(9):634-640. doi: 10.31128/AJGP-04-21-5952.


Background and objectives: A lack of public and health professional awareness about familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) leads to an estimated 90,000 Australians remaining undiagnosed. The aim of this study was to establish the level of knowledge and awareness of FH in Australian general practices.

Method: A qualitative descriptive methodology was used to explore baseline knowledge and perceptions of practice staff about diagnosing and managing FH. Overall, 63 interviews were conducted with general practice staff at 15 practices taking part in a National Health and Medical Research Council partnership grant study (GNT1142883).

Results: Data were analysed thematically and coded into themes - knowledge/awareness/recall, management, use of guidelines/referrals, and contacting family members. Most general practitioners treated the high cholesterol component as their primary focus. Guidelines and referrals were rarely used.

Discussion: This research reflected a lack of knowledge, awareness and use of guidelines similar to that shown in other published studies. Improved primary care infrastructure, knowledge and awareness of FH need to be addressed.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • General Practice*
  • General Practitioners*
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II* / diagnosis
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II* / therapy
  • Primary Health Care