eISSN: 1896-9151
ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 12
Systematic review/Meta-analysis

Prevalence of familial hypercholesterolemia: a meta-analysis of six large, observational, population-based studies in Poland

Andrzej Pajak
Krystyna Szafraniec
Maciej Polak
Wojciech Drygas
Walerian Piotrowski
Tomasz Zdrojewski
Piotr Jankowski

Arch Med Sci 2016; 12, 4: 687–696
Online publish date: 2016/05/05
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Introduction: Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a severely underdiagnosed and undertreated genetic disorder. Little is known about regional variation in the prevalence of FH, and information for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is scarce. This paper assesses the prevalence of FH and related cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in Poland.

Material and methods: We performed a meta-analysis of six population-based studies in Poland. FH was assessed using the Dutch Lipids Clinics Network (DLCN) criteria. The categories “definite” (> 8 points) and “probable” (6–8 points) were combined into “potential FH.” Combined estimates of proportions across studies were pooled by meta-analysis with a random effects model.

Results: A total of 37,889 persons aged 20–79 years were included in the analysis. The distribution of DLCN scores was skewed, and there were only 7 cases of definite FH. Prevalence of potential FH was 404/100,000 people (95% CI = 277–531/100,000). Familial hypercholesterolemia was more prevalent in women than in men, and the prevalence was the highest in the age group 45–54 years in men and 55–64 years in women. After adjustment for age and sex, compared to participants with normal cholesterol, persons with potential FH had twice the prevalence of hypertension (p < 0.01); smoking was more prevalent by about 80% (p < 0.01) and hypertriglyceridemia was nine times more frequent (p < 0.001). There was no difference in the prevalence of low high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol or diabetes.

Conclusions: We believe that our study might facilitate the planning of a strategy to manage the disease at a population level, i.e. to develop a national strategy for the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of FH.

familial hypercholesterolemia, DLCN criteria, risk factors, epidemiology, prevalence

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