Preparing for Your First Genetic Counseling Appointment
If possible, talk with your relatives about your family’s history of heart disease — specifically the type of heart disease your relatives had, the age at which family members were diagnosed with a heart condition, and if a family member has passed away, the age they passed away and cause of their death. If you or a relative has had genetic testing, please bring a copy of the result to your appointment. It’s also helpful to write down questions for the genetic counselor. You’re welcome to bring a friend or family member with you to your appointment.
What to Expect at Your Appointment
Your genetic counselor will ask you about your personal medical history and family history of heart disease. Your counselor will:
- Educate you about hereditary heart disease and inheritance
- Explain possible test results and provide follow-up recommendations
- Review your insurance coverage and legal protection related to genetic testing
You’ll have the option to have genetic testing the day of your appointment. If you decide to have genetic testing, you’ll have a blood sample drawn.
How to Get Your Results
Once the results are available, your genetic counselor will call you and explain your results in detail. You’ll learn:
- How your results impact your future cardiovascular screenings
- How your results impact your family members
You’ll be offered a copy of your results, and you always have the option to schedule a follow-up appointment with your genetic counselor to further discuss your results or answer your questions. Your consultation and results are treated with the same privacy and respect as your other personal health information.
Insurance Coverage of Genetic Testing
Most insurance plans cover genetic testing if there are appropriate risk factors for testing. During your session, your genetic counselor can explain the billing process for testing. Most genetic labs will verify your insurance coverage and notify you about any out-of-pocket expense before beginning the test. In most cases, you don’t need to call your insurance provider before your counseling appointment.
Referrals for Genetic Testing
We recommend you always discuss your concerns about your personal or family history of heart disease with your primary care provider. Although your doctor can refer you to genetic counseling, you don’t need a referral to schedule an appointment.