Establishing a familial hypercholesterolaemia register - The first year.


Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, Mater Dei Hospital, University of Malta, B'kara Bypass, Malta; Dept of Primary Care & Public Health, School of Public Health, 319, Global eHealth Unit, Imperial College London, Reynolds Bldg, St Dunstan's Rd, London, W6 8RP, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal dominant condition raising the risk of premature cardiovascular disease up to twentyfold.[1] [2] It is under-diagnosed and undertreated, in spite of availability of effective treatment. Registers are recommended to assist in the recognition and improvement of the condition since treatment reduces morbidity and mortality. Disease registers enable longitudinal review and the application of continuous quality improvement methodology. The aims of this paper are to describe the process of setting up a new FH register in Malta based on phenotype, the preliminary results achieved, the barriers encountered, how these were overcome, and future plans for development.
METHODS : The registry was established as an observational clinical study designed for a small healthcare system with limited resources. Effective process design requires attention to standards, capacity, outcome measurement and feedback, which have been incorporated.
RESULTS : 43 individuals have been registered applying Dutch Lipid Clinic Network standards, including 9 Definite, 16 Probable and 18 Possible FH. Cascade testing has identified three younger, and one older FH individuals; amenable risk factors and target outcomes are available for feedback and action. Barriers included insufficient infrastructure, limited stakeholder involvement, time limitations impacting clinical care and data collection, poor recognition, awareness and referral, and limited cascade testing. Overcoming these required persistence, reorganizing clinical work, with some assistance from clinic nurses, forward planning to involve patients and raising FH awareness through presentations to various audiences.
CONCLUSIONS : During this year the register was established and is functional: awareness is being raised. Future steps will target process improvement for effectiveness and sustainability.

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