The National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) recommends the joint collection of a family health history (FHH) by patients and their healthcare providers in the course of routine and specialty medical care. The extent of information collected and medical records reviewed will vary in primary care and specialty settings. Collection and annual review of the FHH allows for risk assessment and can aid in diagnosis, decisions about health care, screening, genetic and other test selection, and interpretation of test results, in addition to the identification of at-risk relatives. Use of patient family history tools (e.g. NSGC family history tool), condition checklists and published pedigree symbols (1) can facilitate patient and healthcare providers’ collection of relevant information.
The FHH should include the health status of all first and second degree relatives (2). Third degree relatives’ information should be collected depending on the indication. Current age or age at death, sex at birth and medical conditions with ages of onset should be recorded for each individual. Maternal and paternal ethnicity and consanguinity (3) should be noted and the date the FHH was obtained. When relevant and possible to obtain, NSGC recommends that relatives' genetic test results and other pertinent medical records should be reviewed and documented in adherence with all relevant federal, state, and local privacy guidelines.
(2) First degree relatives: Parents, siblings, children. Second degree relatives: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, half-siblings, grandchildren. Third degree relatives: First cousins
(3) Consanguinity: Second cousins (children of first cousins) or closer relationship between partners