FAQs: Genetic Counseling in Cardiovascular Care
TriHealth offers genetic counseling and genetic testing for adults who are concerned that they may have an inherited cardiovascular disease.
Who are Genetic Counselors?
A genetic counselor is a health professional with a special graduate degree as well as experience in medical genetics and counseling. In the state of Ohio, genetic counselors must be Licensed and Board Certified to practice. To learn more about genetic counselors, click here.
What is Genetic Counseling?
During a genetic counseling session, your genetic counselor will provide personalized evaluations and education to you and your family. This includes:
- Collecting your medical and family history.
- Providing education about the heart disease in the family and the genetics of that condition.
- Discussing of the benefits and limitations of genetic testing.
- Providing guidance regarding genetic testing for your family members.
- Facilitating the collection of a sample for genetic testing. Blood can be drawn in the office at the time of the appointment.
Am I Eligible for Genetic Counseling?
You are eligible for genetic counseling if you have a personal and/or family history of any of the following conditions:
- Arrhythmia (heartbeat abnormalities)
- Cardiomyopathy (enlarged or thick heart)
- Enlarged aorta in the chest, aortic aneurysm/dissection (< age 60)
- Heart defect present since birth in adults
- High cholesterol or other high lipid levels
- Family member who died from a sudden cardiac death (< age 40)
- Family member with a gene mutation that causes a cardiovascular condition
How can I Prepare for my Genetic Counseling Visit?
To prepare for your appointment, consider collecting your medical and family history to discuss with your genetic counselor. If you are unable to acquire this information, you are still able to meet with your genetic counselor. Some examples of medical and family history are provided below.
- Screening or imaging you have had of your heart or arteries.
- Labs that have measured your lipid levels or cholesterol.
- Notes from cardiologists that you have seen.
- Pathology reports from surgeries or biopsies.
- Heart disease history in your children, siblings, parents, aunts/uncles, and grandparents.
- Genetic testing results from any family members.
- Autopsy reports of any family member who passed away suddenly at a young age.
What is the Cost of Genetic Counseling and Testing?
Many insurance companies will cover the cost of genetic counseling. General information about the billing process can be discussed when you schedule an appointment. Financial assistance may also be available to help cover the cost of genetic counseling and testing.
Can the Results of Testing Affect my Insurance?
Some patients are concerned that their genetic information may be used against them or will label them as having a “pre-existing condition”. To learn about laws protecting individuals from genetic discrimination, click here.