Sheffield doctor backs heart tests

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A Sheffield heart expert has backed a new ‘lifesaving’ programme of tests for an inherited, high cholesterol condition.

The scheme, launched with £1 million of charity funding from the British Heart Foundation, aims to identify the one in 200 families who carry the gene for familial hypercholesterolaemia, which can cut decades off a person’s life.

People with undiagnosed FH are at high risk of developing heart disease and dying suddenly at a young age from a heart attack.

But if spotted early, treatment with statin drugs, lifestyle advice and careful monitoring can allow patients to have a normal life expectancy.

The new scheme involves specialist nurses carrying out simple DNA blood tests.

Dr Tim Chico, consultant cardiologist at Sheffield University, said: “This life-saving programme has many important implications.

“It is supported by the hard work of hundreds of BHF volunteers and fundraisers, who deserve great credit for their efforts.

“A new era in medicine is beginning - it will become increasingly common that genetic findings in relatives impact on the health and treatment of other individuals.”