Objectives To assess the feasibility of improving identification of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) in primary care, and of collecting outcome measures to inform a future trial. Design Feasibility intervention study. Setting 6 general practices (GPs) in central England. Participants 831 eligible patients with elevated cholesterol >7.5 mmol/L were identified, by search of electronic health records, for recruitment to the intervention. Intervention Educational session in practice; use of opportunistic computer reminders in consultations or universal postal invitation over 6 months to eligible patients invited to complete a family history questionnaire. Those fulfilling the Simon-Broome criteria for possible FH were invited for GP assessment and referred for specialist definitive diagnosis. Outcome measures Rates of recruitment of eligible patients, identification of patients with possible FH, referral to specialist care, diagnosis of confirmed FH in specialist care; and feasibility of collecting relevant outcome measures for a future trial. Results Of 173 general practices, 18 were interested in participating and 6 were recruited. From 831 eligible patients, 127 (15.3%) were recruited and completed family history questionnaires: 86 (10.7%) through postal invitation and 41 (4.9%) opportunistically. Among the 127 patients, 32 (25.6%) had a possible diagnosis of FH in primary care. Within 6 months of completing recruitment, 7 patients had had specialist assessment confirming 2 patients with definite FH (28.6%), and 5 patients with possible FH (71.4%). Potential trial outcome measures for lipid tests, statin prescribing and secondary causes of hypercholesterolaemia were extracted using automated data extraction from electronic records alone without recourse to other methods. Conclusions The intervention is feasible to implement in GP, and facilitates recruitment of patients with raised cholesterol for targeted assessment and identification of FH. Extracting data directly from electronic records could be used to evaluate relevant outcome measures in a future trial.
Project No: 266. PI: Nadeem Qureshi