Objective. To determine the usefulness of parent history of hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease as a screening criterion for hypercholesterolemia in youths.

Methods. Data were available from a population-based survey of 3665 Quebec youths aged 9, 13, and 16 years (81.2% of eligible subjects). Blood specimens were collected from 2475 subjects (54.8% of those eligible), and questionnaire data were obtained from 3048 parents (67.5% of those eligible). Lipids were measured in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standardized laboratory. Usefulness of parent history in identifying borderline/high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) (≥2.8 mmol/L [≥110 mg/dL]) and high LDL-C (≥3.4 mmol/L [≥130 mg/dL]) was assessed according to test performance statistics (sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value).

Results. The prevalence of a positive parent history was 25.6%; 18.3% of subjects had borderline/high LDL-C, and 4.8% had high LDL-C. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of parent history were 33.1%, 76.0%, 23.7%, and 83.5%, respectively, for identifying borderline/high LDL-C; they were 40.7%, 75.1%, 7.7%, and 96.1% for identifying high LDL-C. Test performance statistics were not improved in subgroups defined according to age, gender, parent education, household income, family status, and family origin (French Canadian, other); neither were they improved by adding screening criteria (parent history of diabetes or hypertension, or youth overweight).

Conclusion. Parent history screening criteria offer little improvement over random population screening in identifying youths with hypercholesterolemia.

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