Check young children for familial high cholesterol

Dr Robert Justo, a paediatric cardiologist from Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, wrote in a review of familial hypercholesterolaemia that children in the at-risk group should have cholesterol checked at 2–10 years of age.

“When patients with early cardiovascular disease are assessed and treated, all family members including children under 10 years of age must be investigated,” Dr Justo said.

Associate Professor Gary Sholler, director of the heart centre for children at the Children’s Hospital, Westmead, said children with a parent who had hypercholesterolaemia should be screened in primary school. But more evidence was needed before adopting early large scale screening as advised by the American Academy of Pediatrics, he said.

“I suggest pharmacological treatment if the cholesterol level is very high, or in milder cases especially with other risk factors, at around 10 to 12 years of age, and perhaps after menarche in