About Genetic Testing

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing is a medical test that can find changes in your DNA. The results of a genetic test can help determine the cause of a heart condition. Additionally, genetic testing can help a person determine their risk of developing or passing on their heart condition. Since genetic testing is complicated, we encourage patients to meet with a genetic counselor to better understand the benefits and limitations of genetic testing.

What is a genetic counselor?

A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional with training in medical genetics and counseling. A genetic counselor can provide personalized guidance as you make decisions about your genetic health.

What happens during a genetic counseling session?

A genetic counseling session may take between 30 and 90 minutes. During a genetic counseling session, the genetic counselor will:

  • Review your personal medical history and your family history
  • Provide information specific to your personal and/or family history risks
  • Discuss different genetic testing options, including their benefits, limitations, and risks
  • Provide support in the decision-making process
  • Follow-up with results, additional information or resources

Who should have genetic counseling?

A person should have genetic counseling if he or she has:

  • A personal history of a heart condition (such as Brugada syndrome, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Long QT syndrome)
  • A family history of sudden death
  • A family history of a heart condition

How is genetic testing done?

Genetic testing involves having a small amount of your blood drawn. Once your blood is drawn, the blood will be sent to a genetic testing laboratory where it will be analyzed.

Am I required to have genetic testing?

Genetic testing is voluntary, meaning that it is your choice to have genetic testing.

How long does it take to receive genetic testing results?

Typically genetic testing takes 4-6 weeks from the date of your blood draw. This time may vary depending on other factors such as processing the sample in the laboratory.

Who can I contact if I am interested in genetic counseling and testing?

If you are interested in learning more about genetic testing or would like to schedule a genetic counseling appointment, please contact our Cardiovascular Genetic Counselor, Isha Kalia, at 212-304-7832 or ik2417@cumc.columbia.edu.