The Heart Institute Genetic Counseling Clinic offers genetic counseling services to patients and families with genetic, or inherited, heart conditions. Our team includes three genetic counselors with specialized interest and expertise in cardiovascular disease. We work closely with families and their healthcare providers to use genetic information to make personalized plans for screening and treatment of heart conditions.

Services Provided

Genetic counseling is a process which aims to help patients and families incorporate genetic information into their lives and medical care. A genetic counseling visit will commonly include collection and evaluation of medical and family histories and review of medical records. A visit won’t look the same for everyone. We will work with patients to personalize a visit to your specific needs, whether that be discussing and ordering genetic testing, interpreting genetic test results, providing information on heart screening recommendations, or identifying resources to help understand and adjust to your personal diagnosis. Since genetic heart conditions can run in families, we work closely with you to provide family-centered care including providing written information and recommendations to share with relatives when needed. 

Who should be seen in the Heart Institute Genetic Counseling Clinic?

Individuals with a personal history or family history of a genetic heart condition may benefit from genetic counseling. Common genetic heart conditions include:

  • Cardiomyopathy
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    • Dilated cardiomyopathy
    • Restrictive cardiomyopathy
    • Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy
    • Left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy
  • Heart rhythm disorders
    • Long QT syndrome
    • Brugada syndrome
    • Catecholaminergic polymorphic tachycardia
  • Unexplained sudden cardiac arrest
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
  • Familial congenital heart defects
  • Familial aortic aneurysm

For some conditions and individual circumstances, a visit with an additional healthcare provider such as a geneticist or cardiologist in addition to a genetic counselor may be necessary. Our genetic counselors work with physicians in several clinics within the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s, and can help you identify the best type of visit to answer your questions. Clinics at our hospital providing specialized care for individuals with or at risk for an inherited heart condition include the Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic, Familial Heart Rhythm Clinic, and Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Center.

Who needs genetic testing for a heart condition?

Many factors are considered when identifying if you or your relatives need a genetic test, including your personal diagnoses and family history. Genetic testing may be useful for you to help diagnose your specific heart condition, provide additional information to your relatives, or to clarify if you are at risk for a condition running in your family. Genetic testing may not be appropriate for everyone. For some individuals, it is recommended that another relative have genetic testing completed first in order to best inform recommendations for their family. Our team will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan, and help communicate information between relatives and other healthcare providers.