Introduction: To halt the spread of coronary artery disease (CAD), the number one killer in
the world, requires primary prevention. Fifty percent of all Americans are expected to experience a
cardiac event; the challenge is identifying those at risk. 40 to 60% of predisposition to CAD is genetic.
The first genetic risk variant, 9p21, was discovered in 2007. Genome-Wide Association Studies has
since discovered hundreds of genetic risk variants. The genetic burden for CAD can be expressed as a
single number, Genetic Risk Score (GRS). Assessment of GRS to risk stratify for CAD was superior
to conventional risk factors in several large clinical trials assessing statin therapy, and more recently in
a population of nearly 500,000 (UK Biobank). Studies were performed based on prospective genetic
risk stratification for CAD. These studies showed that a favorable lifestyle was associated with a 46%
reduction in cardiac events and programmed exercise, a 50% reduction in cardiac events. Genetic risk
score is superior to conventional risk factors, and is markedly attenuated by lifestyle changes and drug
therapy. Genetic risk can be determined at birth or any time thereafter.
Conclusion: Utilizing the GRS to risk stratify young, asymptomatic individuals could provide a paradigm
shift in the primary prevention of CAD and significantly halt its spread.
Keywords: Genome-wide association studies, coronary artery disease, genetic risk stratification, genetics, primary, prevention,
genetic risk variants, genomic.
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport