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Heart, Lung and Circulation

Familial Hypercholesterolaemia in Primary Care: Knowledge and Practices among General Practitioners in Western Australia

  • Damon A. Bell
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Clinical Biochemistry, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, Royal Perth Hospital, GPO Box X2213, Perth, WA 6847, Australia. Tel.: +61 8 9224 2453; fax: +61 8 9224 1789.
    Affiliations
    Lipid Disorders Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia

    Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia

    School of Medicine & Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
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  • Jacquie Garton-Smith
    Affiliations
    Clinical Lead, Cardiovascular Health Network, DoHWA and Hospital Liaison GP, Royal Perth Hospital, Australia
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  • Alistair Vickery
    Affiliations
    Primary Health Care – General Practice, SPARHC, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
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  • Andrew B. Kirke
    Affiliations
    Rural Clinical School of Western Australia, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
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  • Jing Pang
    Affiliations
    School of Medicine & Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
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  • Timothy R. Bates
    Affiliations
    Lipid Disorders Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia

    School of Medicine & Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
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  • Gerald F. Watts
    Affiliations
    Lipid Disorders Clinic, Department of Internal Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Australia

    School of Medicine & Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
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Published:September 19, 2013DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hlc.2013.08.005

      Aim

      To determine general practitioners’ (GPs’) knowledge and practice regarding familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) in Western Australia.

      Method

      A structured questionnaire was anonymously completed by GPs. Information was sought on awareness and knowledge of FH including, diagnosis, inheritance, prevalence, cardiovascular risk, management practices and opinions on FH screening.

      Results

      191 GPs completed the survey, 62% were familiar with FH, 80% correctly defined FH and 68% identified the typical lipid profile, but only 33% were aware of national guidelines. There were knowledge deficits in prevalence, inheritance, and clinical features of FH, with correct responses in 27%, 45% and 38%, respectively. Most (84%) GPs considered themselves the most effective health professionals to detect FH, with 90% preferring laboratory interpretative commenting to highlight individuals at risk of FH. GPs identified appropriate cholesterol lowering drugs as mono (95%) or combination therapies (74%).

      Conclusion

      The majority of GPs considered they were the most effective health practitioners for managing FH and preferred laboratory reports to alert them of possible FH. Although GPs knowledge of cholesterol lowering therapies was good, their awareness of national guidelines, hereditability, prevalence and diagnostic features of FH was suboptimal. Implementing a community model of care for FH requires more extensive GP education.

      Keywords

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