Genetic testing and genetic counseling in cardiovascular genetic medicine: overview and preliminary recommendations.


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  • Author:  Ray E Hershberger  

  • Abstract:  In this emerging era of cardiovascular genetic medicine, increasing responsibility will be placed on cardiovascular practitioners to be aware of the latest clinical genetic testing methods and the knowledge base needed to interpret genetic test results. Some cardiovascular specialists will develop the expertise within the field to order genetic testing and interpret results, while other practitioners will refer patients to centers of excellence in cardiovascular genetic medicine. A previous article in the Cardiovascular Genetic Medicine: Clinical Perspectives and Future Applications series(1) highlighted an increasing recognition of the cardiomyopathies (hypertrophic [HCM], dilated [DCM], arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia [ARVD]) and channelopathies (long QT syndrome [LQTS] and others) as genetic diseases, and focused on the importance of a targeted family history as a critical part of patient evaluation. The goal of this article, second in the series, is to provide a general framework for understanding the principles of genetic testing and genetic counseling. We review the growing number of genetic tests currently available to cardiac specialists, the selection of an appropriate test, and the numerous genetic counseling issues raised by the testing process. We also provide our preliminary recommendations for genetic testing in cardiovascular genetic medicine.

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