Prevalence of familial hypercholesterolemia in a country-wide laboratory network in Pakistan: 10-year data from 988, 306 patients

Awais Farhad, Ali Aahil Noorali, Salma Tajuddin, Sarim Dawar Khan, Mushyada Ali, Rumi Chunara, Aysha Habib Khan, Afia Zafar, Anwar Merchant, Syedah Saira Bokhari, Salim S. Virani, Zainab Samad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a modifiable risk factor for premature coronary heart disease but is poorly diagnosed and treated. We leveraged a large laboratory network in Pakistan to study the prevalence, gender and geographic distribution of FH. Methodology: Data were curated from the Aga Khan University Hospital clinical laboratories, which comprises of 289 laboratories and collection points spread over 94 districts. Clinically ordered lipid profiles from 1st January 2009 to 30th June 2018 were included and data on 1,542,281 LDL-C values was extracted. We used the Make Early Diagnosis to Prevent Early Death (MEDPED) criteria to classify patients as FH and reported data on patients with low-density liporotein -cholesterol (LDL-C) ≥ 190 mg/dL. FH cases were also examined by their spatial distribution. Results: After applying exclusions, the final sample included 988,306 unique individuals, of which 24,273 individuals (1:40) had LDL-C values of ≥190 mg/dL. Based on the MEDPED criteria, 2416 individuals (1:409) had FH. FH prevalence was highest in individuals 10–19 years (1:40) and decreased as the patient age increased. Among individuals ≥40 years, the prevalence of FH was higher for females compared with males (1:755 vs 1:1037, p < 0.001). Median LDL-C for the overall population was 112 mg/dL (IQR = 88-136 mg/dL). The highest prevalence after removing outliers was observed in Rajan Pur district (1.23% [0.70–2.10%]) in Punjab province, followed by Mardan (1.18% [0.80–1.70%]) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and Okara (0.99% [0.50–1.80%]) in Punjab province. Conclusion: There is high prevalence of actionable LDL-C values in lipid samples across a large network of laboratories in Pakistan. Variable FH prevalence across geographic locations in Pakistan may need to be explored at the population level for intervention and management of contributory factors. Efforts at early diagnosis and treatment of FH are urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Cardiovascular Diseases
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023


  • Dyslipidemia
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
  • LDL-C
  • Laboratory network, prevalence
  • Pakistan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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