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AIM: To determine the frequency and spectrum of mutations causing Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) in patients attending a single UK specialist hospital lipid clinic in Oxford and to identify characteristics contributing to a high mutation detection rate. METHODS: 289 patients (272 probands) were screened sequentially over a 2-year period for mutations in LDLR, APOB and PCSK9 using standard molecular genetic techniques. The Simon Broome (SB) clinical diagnostic criteria were used to classify patients and a separate cohort of 409 FH patients was used for replication. RESULTS: An FH-causing mutation was found in 101 unrelated patients (LDLR = 54 different mutations, APOB p.(Arg3527Gln) = 10, PCSK9 p.(Asp374Tyr) = 0). In the 60 SB Definite FH patients the mutation detection rate was 73% while in the 142 with Possible FH the rate was significantly lower (27%, p < 0.0001), but similar (14%, p = 0.06) to the 70 in whom there was insufficient data to make a clinical diagnosis. The mutation detection rate varied significantly (p = 9.83 × 10(-5)) by untreated total cholesterol (TC) levels (25% in those <8.1 mmol/l and 74% in those >10.0 mmol/l), and by triglyceride levels (20% in those >2.16 mmol/l and 60% in those <1.0 mmol/l (p = 0.0005)), with both effects confirmed in the replication sample (p for trend = 0.0001 and p = 1.8 × 10(-6) respectively). There was no difference in the specificity or sensitivity of the SB criteria versus the Dutch Lipid Clinic Network score in identifying mutation carriers (AROC respectively 0.73 and 0.72, p = 0.68). CONCLUSIONS: In this genetically heterogeneous cohort of FH patients the mutation detection rate was significantly dependent on pre-treatment TC and triglyceride levels.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





161 - 168


Adult, Aged, Apolipoproteins B, Cholesterol, Cohort Studies, Female, Genetic Testing, Humans, Hyperlipoproteinemia Type II, Male, Middle Aged, Mutation, Outpatient Clinics, Hospital, Proprotein Convertase 9, Proprotein Convertases, Receptors, LDL, Serine Endopeptidases, Triglycerides, United Kingdom