Pediatric cholesterol screening practices in 9- to 11-year-olds in a large midwestern primary care setting

Carly Allen-Tice, Julia Steinberger, Kari Murdy, Heather Zierhut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Early diagnosis and treatment of familial hypercholesterolemia reduces patient morbidity and mortality associated with coronary heart disease. Despite guidelines recommending screening of all pediatric patients aged 9 to 11 years, universal screening rates are reportedly low. Evaluating current screening practices provides key insights to inform and improve screening rates in the future. Objective: The objective of the study was to assess universal cholesterol screening rates for a large cohort of pediatric patients within one healthcare system and at the individual provider and clinic levels. Methods: A retrospective review of more than 50,000 electronic health records of children aged 9 to 11 years seen at 46 primary care clinics in a large Midwestern healthcare system between 2011 and 2016 was completed. Descriptive statistics of cholesterol screening status, lipid test results, and patient demographics were used for comparisons of factors influencing screening rates. Results: Between 2011 and 2016, 4.0% of eligible pediatric patients were screened in the healthcare system. A majority of clinics and providers screened 4.0% or fewer of eligible patients. Six of the 333 providers (1.8%) screened >10% of eligible patients and completed a majority of the screening at the three higher screening clinics. Conclusion: Rates of universal cholesterol screening for pediatric patients were low. Low guideline adherence may be an issue in more than one large healthcare system and state. A small number of physicians appear to be driving screening in clinics with higher screening rates. Further investigation into the motivations of these higher screening providers and the barriers faced by low-screening providers may help inform efforts to improve cholesterol screening rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-230
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Lipidology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 National Lipid Association


  • Cholesterol
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
  • Guideline
  • Pediatric
  • Primary care
  • Universal screening


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