Contemporary Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia in the United States: Insights From the CASCADE FH Registry

Marina Cuchel, Paul C. Lee, Lisa C. Hudgins, P. Barton Duell, Zahid Ahmad, Seth J. Baum, Macrae F. Linton, Sarah D. de Ferranti, Christie M. Ballantyne, John A. Larry, Linda C. Hemphill, Iris Kindt, Samuel S. Gidding, Seth S. Martin, Patrick M. Moriarty, Paul P. Thompson, James A. Underberg, John R. Guyton, Rolf L. Andersen, David J. WhellanIrwin Benuck, John P. Kane, Kelly Myers, William Howard, David Staszak, Allison Jamison, Mary C. Card, Mafalda Bourbon, Joana R. Chora, Daniel J. Rader, Joshua W. Knowles, Katherine Wilemon, Mary P. McGowan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) is a rare, treatment-resistant disorder characterized by early-onset atherosclerotic and aortic valvular cardiovascular disease if left untreated. Contemporary information on HoFH in the United States is lacking, and the extent of underdiagnosis and undertreatment is uncertain. METHODS AND RESULTS: Data were analyzed from 67 children and adults with clinically diagnosed HoFH from the CASCADE (Cascade Screening for Awareness and Detection) FH Registry. Genetic diagnosis was confirmed in 43 patients. We used the clinical characteristics of genetically confirmed patients with HoFH to query the Family Heart Database, a US anonymized payer health database, to estimate the number of patients with similar lipid profiles in a “real-world” setting. Untreated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were lower in adults than children (533 versus 776 mg/dL; P=0.001). At enrollment, ath-erosclerotic cardiovascular disease and supravalvular and aortic valve stenosis were present in 78.4% and 43.8% and 25.5% and 18.8% of adults and children, respectively. At most recent follow-up, despite multiple lipid-lowering treatment, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol goals were achieved in only a minority of adults and children. Query of the Family Heart Database identified 277 individuals with profiles similar to patients with genetically confirmed HoFH. Advanced lipid-lowering treatments were prescribed for 18%; 40% were on no lipid-lowering treatment; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease was reported in 20%; familial hypercholesterolemia diagnosis was uncommon. CONCLUSIONS: Only patients with the most severe HoFH phenotypes are diagnosed early. HoFH remains challenging to treat. Results from the Family Heart Database indicate HoFH is systemically underdiagnosed and undertreated. Earlier screening, aggressive lipid-lowering treatments, and guideline implementation are required to reduce disease burden in HoFH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere029175
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2 2023


  • atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
  • homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia
  • lipid-lowering treatments
  • low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • xanthomas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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