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JCL roundtable: Pediatric lipidology

      Abstract

      This JCL Roundtable discussion probes the knowledge of 3 experts in pediatric lipidology, an emerging discipline both in the United States and internationally. In the 1990s, only 3 US institutions could be said to have dedicated pediatric lipid clinics; that number has grown to 25 today. The Pediatric Atherosclerosis Prevention and Lipidology Group of the National Lipid Association has regular teleconferences to support advocacy and convey best practices. Guidelines for pediatric lipidology initially focused on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in 1992 as part of the National Cholesterol Education Program. Today the most comprehensive coverage comes from the 2011 National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Pediatric Guidelines. Universal screening was recommended for children between ages 9 and 11 years and teenagers/young adults between 17 to 21 years, a position echoed as “may be recommended” by the 2018 AHA/ACC/Multisociety Cholesterol Guidelines. While pediatric lipidologists continue to treat uncommon genetic disorders, they increasingly confront an issue of epidemic proportions—dyslipidemia as the initial presentation of metabolic dysregulation associated with obesity. Consequences of such altered metabolism extend to atherosclerosis, diabetes, liver disease, and other serious problems in adult life. Pediatric lipid science and practice differ from adult experience in several ways, including importance of family and birth history as well as genetics/epigenetics, lack of general pediatricians’ familiarity with lipid drugs, value of family counseling, need for biomarkers of early metabolic dysregulation, and anticipation of endpoints in adult life not fully defined by randomized clinical trials in children.

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