Which physical findings are characteristic of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (FH)?

Updated: Oct 04, 2021
  • Author: Mose July, MD, CCD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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These patients may have cutaneous xanthomas at birth or by early childhood.

Several types of xanthomas are usually obvious in the first decade of life, and they include (1) planar xanthomas (on hands, elbows, buttocks, or knees), which are diagnostic for the homozygous state and are distinct from other cutaneous xanthomas because of their yellow-to-orange coloration; (2) tuberous xanthomas (on hands, elbows, or knees); and (3) tendon xanthomas (especially on extensor tendons of hands or Achilles tendon) will occur somewhat later.

Children may have corneal arcus, which is sometimes circumferential. While occasionally present in older adults with normal cholesterol levels, corneal arcus is highly unusual in children, and this finding should prompt a workup for homozygous FH.

The murmur of aortic stenosis may be heard.

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