An audit conducted by the NHS has revealed that more than 100,000 patients have not been tested for a preventable form of heart disease that could prove to be fatal in the long run.
Familial hypercholesterolaemia is a genetic heart disease that is characterized by high cholesterol. Since the disease is genetic in nature, the chances of a relative of a patient suffering from the same disease are very high.
However a survey carried out by the Royal College of Physicians found that of the 2,500 patients involved in the audit, very few of them also had their relatives tested for the disease. Over 120 hospitals were screened in the audit of which less than 15 percent had funding for DNA testing.
The audit predicted that over 100,000 potential patients had not been screened for the disease. It went on to say that while the policy of family testing was gaining supporting in the rest of UK, the practice is still to be picked up in England.
"Undoubtedly it is cost effective to test and treat familial hypercholesterolaemia. It saves lives in five to 10 years time, but trusts balance budgets by April so it is hard to get these measures high enough up the priority list", lead researcher Professor Steve Humphries said.