Burden of cardiovascular disease in a large contemporary cohort of patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia

Atheroscler Plus. 2022 Aug 17;50:17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.athplu.2022.08.001. eCollection 2022 Dec.

Abstract

Background and aims: Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) is increasingly better diagnosed and treatments can improve the cardiovascular prognosis. We evaluated the long-term cardiovascular risk of HeFH using the French REgistry of Familial hypERCHOLesterolemia (REFERCHOL).

Methods: We studied HeFH patients diagnosed genetically and clinically by the Dutch Lipid Clinic Network (DLCN) criteria in all lipid clinics across the country and their 5-year risk of cardiovascular events (all fatal and non-fatal acute coronary, cerebral and peripheral arterial disease events, aortic valve replacement surgery) using the French national health data system.

Results: The database comprised 3202 individuals, 2010 (62.8%) with genetically verified HeFH and 1192 (37.2%) a DLCN score ≥6. Of these individuals, 2485 (77.6%) were in primary prevention and 717 (22.4%) in secondary prevention. The incidence of cardiovascular events was 24.58 per 1000 person-years for the overall sample, 19.15 in primary prevention and 43.40 in secondary prevention. The incidence of myocardial infarction, cerebral infarction and death was 16.32 per 1000 person-years for the overall sample, 12.93 in primary prevention and 28.08 in secondary prevention. The incidence of aortic valve replacement was 1.78 per 1000 person-years. In the overall sample, at inclusion, 41% were not treated for LDL cholesterol, 48% of these in primary prevention and 20% in secondary prevention and high-dose statins were used by only 24% of individuals, 15% of these in primary prevention and 45% in secondary prevention.

Conclusions: The incidence of cardiovascular events in HeFH is high and lipid-lowering treatment is far from optimal. The cardiovascular risk of HeFH is underestimated and patients are inadequately treated.

Keywords: Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia; Incidence; Lipid-lowering treatment; Prognosis; Recurrence; Registry.