Screening for Lipid Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force.

IMPORTANCE: Lipid screening in childhood and adolescence can lead to early dyslipidemia diagnosis. The long-term benefits of lipid screening and subsequent treatment in this population are uncertain.
OBJECTIVE: To review benefits and harms of screening and treatment of pediatric dyslipidemia due to familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and multifactorial dyslipidemia.
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials through May 16, 2022; literature surveillance through March 24, 2023.
STUDY SELECTION: English-language randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of lipid screening; recent, large US cohort studies reporting diagnostic yield or screen positivity; and RCTs of lipid-lowering interventions.
DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Single extraction, verified by a second reviewer. Quantitative synthesis using random-effects meta-analysis.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Health outcomes, diagnostic yield, intermediate outcomes, behavioral outcomes, and harms.
RESULTS: Forty-three studies were included (n = 491?516). No RCTs directly addressed screening effectiveness and harms. Three US studies (n = 395?465) reported prevalence of phenotypically defined FH of 0.2% to 0.4% (1:250 to 1:500). Five studies (n = 142?257) reported multifactorial dyslipidemia prevalence; the prevalence of elevated total cholesterol level (=200 mg/dL) was 7.1% to 9.4% and of any lipid abnormality was 19.2%. Ten RCTs in children and adolescents with FH (n = 1230) demonstrated that statins were associated with an 81- to 82-mg/dL greater mean reduction in levels of total cholesterol and LDL-C compared with placebo at up to 2 years. Nonstatin-drug trials showed statistically significant lowering of lipid levels in FH populations, but few studies were available for any single drug. Observational studies suggest that statin treatment for FH starting in childhood or adolescence reduces long-term cardiovascular disease risk. Two multifactorial dyslipidemia behavioral counseling trials (n = 934) demonstrated 3- to 6-mg/dL greater reductions in total cholesterol levels compared with the control group, but findings did not persist at longest follow-up. Harms reported in the short-term drug trials were similar in the intervention and control groups.
CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: No direct evidence on the benefits or harms of pediatric lipid screening was identified. While multifactorial dyslipidemia is common, no evidence was found that treatment is effective for this condition. In contrast, FH is relatively rare; evidence shows that statins reduce lipid levels in children with FH, and observational studies suggest that such treatment has long-term benefit for this condition.