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Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med. 2004 Oct;6(5):431-437.

Management of Hyperlipidemia in the Pediatric Population.

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Department of Preventive Cardiology, Preventive Medicine Clinic, UllevÄl University Hospital, Oslo N-0407, Norway.


Heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) affects one in every 500 persons and is the most common cause of markedly elevated cholesterol levels in children. Other causes of primary hyperlipidemia include familial combined hyperlipidemia, which is also common (approximately 1%) but not usually manifest until after puberty, and very rare genetic disorders that may lead to severe hypertriglyceridemia and chylomicronemia syndrome. In children with heterozygous FH, the short-term risk of clinical events is low; therefore, management starts with stratification of risk, followed by dietary modification, and in high-risk cases, pharmacologic treatment initiated after puberty. Male gender, a family history of premature coronary heart disease, and level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol above 4.9 mmol/L are important determinants of risk. Trials have shown that statins effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels; in one study, statins restored endothelial function, with no clinically adverse effects. The effects of statins for longer than 2 years have not been studied. The use of bile acid sequestrants (resins) is limited by compliance and side effects. Children with homozygous FH require expert management with LDL apheresis, high doses of effective statins, and cardiologic follow-up. Ezetimibe, the first in a new class of cholesterol absorption inhibitors, may provide additional efficacy in homozygous FH.

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