Should kids be tested for lipid disorders?

August 23, 2007

After studying the issue, the US Preventive Services Task Fore (USPSTF) cannot recommend for or against the routine screening for dyslipidemia in children, adolescents, and young adults (up to 20 years of age).[more]

After studying the issue, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) cannot recommend for or against the routine screening for dyslipidemia in children, adolescents, and young adults (up to 20 years of age).

In its report, the USPSTF said that while there is good evidence that children with lipid disorders are at risk for growing into adults with lipid diseases, the current scientific data on childhood dyslipidemia “is lacking, of poor quality, or conflicting, and the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined.”

There is a critical gap in the evidence, though clinical trials using statin drugs in children with monogenic dyslipidemia (those with familial hypercholesterolemia) have shown improved total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol measurements. For children with multifactorial types of lipid disorders, there is no evidence that diet or exercise interventions in childhood lead to improved lipid profiles or better health outcomes in adulthood.

The potential harm of routine screening may include the “labeling of children whose dyslipidemia would not persist into adulthood or cause health problems, although evidence is lacking.”