Is Cardiovascular Genetic Testing Right for Me?

Genetic testing for inherited heart diseases is a very personal decision. You should discuss genetic testing with your healthcare provider if it is something you are considering. There are many important factors to consider when thinking about this type of genetic testing.

Your healthcare provider can help walk you through the benefits, risks, and limitations of cardiovascular genetic testing and how these might impact you and your family. Here are just a few examples of those factors:

  • How would you feel if you learned that you and/or your family members were at increased risk for a heart disease that may be associated with sudden death?
  • Do you feel empowered by knowledge and information?
  • Do you feel anxious or worried about learning something about you or your loved ones that may be difficult to think about or discuss?
  • What would you do with your genetic test results?
  • Would you want to share your results with your relatives?
  • Would you get additional medical care, like cardiovascular evaluations, if you were found to be at increased risk for a specific heart disease?
  • Would your insurance plan cover the cost of your testing, or would you be willing to pay out of your own pocket for this testing?

How do I know which genetic test is right for me?

There are many different options for cardiovascular genetic testing available from many different labs. It is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you are considering genetic testing, as they will be able to discuss the benefits, risks, and limitations of the genetic testing options available to you. Below are a few criteria to keep in mind when considering genetic testing for inherited heart diseases.

Is cardiovascular genetic testing right for me?

Genetic testing may make sense for you to consider if you have a personal history and/or family history of any of the following:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) due to an unknown cause (not caused by a heart attack or stroke)
  • Long QT syndrome (LQTS)
  • Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT)
  • Suspected or confirmed Marfan syndrome
  • 2 or more people in your family with cardiomyopathy, sudden unexplained death, or an aortic aneurysm*

* On the same side of the family