Incidental Findings in Genetic Testing

INCIDENTAL FINDINGS IN GENETIC TESTING: Genetic testing that utilizes a broad scope technology such as array-based testing or genomic sequencing may produce findings of likely medical significance unrelated to the primary indication for testing. When these incidental findings relate to a serious, well-characterized medical risk with implications for clinical care, laboratories should identify and disclose them to clinicians as a part of the return-of-results process unless there is a compelling and case-specific reason to do otherwise.  

The National Society of Genetic Counselors strongly advises that a plan for return of results be formulated in advance of testing, and that the process of pre-test counseling establish clear expectations for what categories of results will and will not be returned.  Healthcare providers ordering untargeted clinical genomic testing should consider the need for a specialty referral network and should ensure that their patients have access to a medical professional with specific expertise in genetics, such as a genetic counselor, throughout the testing and return-of-results processes. (Undergoing Revision-2019)

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