Background: Genetic heterogeneity is common in inherited cardiac diseases. Next-generation sequencing gene panels are therefore suitable for genetic diagnosis. We describe the results of implementation of cardiomyopathy and arrhythmia gene panels in clinical care. Methods: We present detection rates for variants with unknown (class 3), likely (class 4), and certain (class 5) pathogenicity in cardiogenetic gene panels since their introduction into diagnostics. Results: In 936 patients tested on the arrhythmia panel, likely pathogenic and pathogenic variants were detected in 8.8% (4.6% class 5; 4.2% class 4), and one or multiple class 3 variants in 34.8%. In 1970 patients tested on the cardiomyopathy panel, likely pathogenic and pathogenic variants were detected in 19.8% (12.0% class 5; 7.9% class 4), and one or multiple class 3 variants in 40.8%. Detection rates of all different classes of variants increased with the increasing number of genes on the cardiomyopathy gene panel. Multiple variants were detected in 11.7% and 28.5% of patients on the arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy panels respectively. In more recent larger versions of the cardiomyopathy gene panel the detection rate of likely pathogenic and pathogenic variants only slightly increased, but was associated with a large increase of class 3 variants. Conclusion: Overall detection rates (class 3, 4, and 5 variants) in a diagnostic setting are 44% and 61% for the arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy gene panel respectively, with only a small minority of likely pathogenic and pathogenic variants (8.8% and 19.8% respectively). Larger gene panels can increase the detection rate of likely pathogenic and pathogenic variants, but mainly increase the frequency of variants of unknown pathogenicity.
van Lint, F. H. M., Mook, O. R. F., Alders, M., Bikker, H., Lekanne dit Deprez, R. H., & Christiaans, I. (2019). Large next-generation sequencing gene panels in genetic heart disease: yield of pathogenic variants and variants of unknown significance. Netherlands Heart Journal, 27(6), 304-309. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12471-019-1250-5