Heart attack screening for siblings could save lives

Glasgow: Premature heart attacks could be prevented if close relatives of victims were screened and treated, say experts at Glasgow University.

Siblings of those with premature heart disease – which occurs in men under 55 and women under 65 – have at least double the risk of developing problems. The siblings’ children also have an increased risk.

Specialists believe routine screening for those at higher risk should be looked at.

the UK’s Glasgow University, said: ‘Family history of coronary heart disease significantly increases risk of the disease in all firstdegree relatives.’

Common genetic factors are behind the extra risk. But doctors also blame a ‘shared lifestyle’ within families, such as eating similar unhealthy foods and smoking.

Using a series of calculations, doctors worked out that 88 per cent of premature heart attacks in those with a family history that were treated in England Wales and Scotland in 2004, could have been prevented through family screening.