In a recent review of the evidence base, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) concluded that current evidence is insufficient to recommend screening for lipid disorders in children and adolescents 20 years or younger.The rationale for screening for lipid disorders in children and adolescents is that early identification and treatment of elevated lipid levels could delay the atherosclerotic process and thereby reduce the incidence of premature cardiovascular events in adults.
The USPSTF statement reviewed evidence to evaluate potential benefits and harms of screening in children by looking at dyslipidemia and familial hypercholesterolemia, caused by genetics or lifestyle factors like diet and obesity.
Between 7-8 percent of U.S. children and adolescents have high lipid levels, such as TC and LDL-C. The USPSTF did not find enough evidence that lifestyle changes or medication use among children and adolescents with dyslipidemia actually improved their health or prevented heart disease.
Familial hypercholesterolemia is seen in about one of every 200 to 500 adults in Europe and North America, the panel writes. Treating children with the genetic condition with medication resulted in lower cholesterol levels, but the panel didn’t find enough evidence that it prevented deaths or cardiac events in adulthood.
The statement is similar to the conclusion it reached in 2007, when the panel last considered screening for lipid disorders in children, adolescents, and young adults.