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J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2008 Feb;25(1):6-9. Epub 2007 Oct 19.

Genetic counseling for inherited thrombophilias.

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Division of Molecular and Human Genetics, Columbus Children's Research Institute, Wexner 4, Columbus, OH 43205, USA.


Genetic testing for inherited thrombophilia, including mutation analysis for factor V Leiden and prothrombin G20210A, is commonly performed. Yet, tests for inherited thrombophilia are frequently ordered inappropriately, and without proper counseling about the risks, benefits and limitations of testing. Genetic counselors are uniquely trained to help people understand and adapt to medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease. In the context of thrombophilia, genetic counselors may serve as a resource to other clinicians to: (a) identify individuals and families at increased risk for inherited thrombophilia, (b) offer and explain testing to patients and families, as appropriate, (c) facilitate patient-focused decision-making and informed consent prior to testing, (d) interpret test results, (e) explain inheritance patterns and discuss implications of thrombophilia for family members and (f) provide education and support resources. This article will provide insight into the training and roles of genetic counselors, review indications for thrombophilia testing, and highlight specific issues related to genetic testing, including genetic discrimination concerns.

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