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Scandinavian children with familial hypercholesterolemia are underdiagnosed and undertreated

Karianne Svendsen, University of Oslo, Norway
ESC 2019
Despite the new European guidelinesā€™ recommendation that patients with familial hypercholesterolemia should initiate statin treatment form an early age (between 8 and 10 years), children suffering from familial hypercholesterolemia in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are still underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Until recently, the number of children treated with statin was unknown. Therefore, Karianne Svendsen (University of Oslo, Norway) and colleagues aimed to describe the number of statin users younger than 19 years in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway [1]. The authors assumed that the number of children who would be using statins is equivalent to a positive familial hypercholesterolemia diagnosis in these three Nordic countries. As the estimated frequency of familial hypercholesterolemia is 1:250, the number of expected children suffering from the disease per year could be calculated. They then calculated the percentage of all children with familial hypercholesterolemia who were treated according to the national registries, which hold information on all prescription drugs being handed out. The researchers also calculated any changes between 2006 and 2016.

Results showed that in 2016, a total of 1,086 Scandinavian children aged between 5-19 years (51% girls and 48% boys) used statins. Norwegian children with familial hypercholesterolemia aged 10-19 years used statins more frequently than children in Denmark and Sweden. However, an increase from 2% to 4% was seen in the use of statins in children aged 5-19 years between 2006 and 2016 in Sweden (n=109) and in Denmark (n=136). In Norway, statin use increased from about 5% to 10% (n=340). Thus, during a 10-year period, a modest increase in statin users aged 5-19 years in the Scandinavian countries was seen. It was also highlighted that implementing the current statin recommendation will take many years.

1. Svendsen K, et al. Statin treatment in children with familial hypercholesterolemia in Scandinavia. FP Number P1224. ESC Congress 2019, 31 Aug-4 Sept, Paris, France.

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