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Date: 16 December 2017

Time: 12:53

Image: entrance to QEHB

New Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Service

Story posted/last updated: 21 November 2017

The West Midlands Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Service (WMFHS) launched in November 2017.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) hosts five Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH) specialist nurses, who will deliver the service throughout the West Midlands region.

WMFHS is the country’s first region-wide screening service which will see all relatives of people diagnosed with FH given the opportunity to be tested for the condition.

The primary-care based service means GPs and other consultant medical staff will be able to refer patients with FH to the specialist nurses.

FH is an inherited condition, passed down through families and is characterised by high cholesterol levels.

It is the main inherited cause of early heart and circulatory disease if left untreated.

The launch of WMFHS means that if someone living in the West Midlands has an usually high cholesterol level their DNA can be tested for FH genes.  

Screenings for FH can also be arranged, when appropriate, for individuals who have had premature cardiovascular disease.

WMFHS is the result of a partnership between NHS England, the 22 West Midlands’ Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and the British Heart Foundation, and could prevent hundreds of premature heart attacks and strokes.

Elaine George, WMFHS Clinical Programme Manager, said: “Once diagnosed, FH is a manageable condition with cholesterol-lowering drugs and lifestyle changes.”

“The support of UHB, the British Heart Foundation, NHS England and the CCGs has been incredible, and we couldn’t have launched this service without them.” 

More information about living with FH can be found on the British Heart Foundation website or the cholesterol charity website Heart UK.

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