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Huntington's Disease

Patients Consent For Testing

09/29/2008

Question:

If one were to collapse or blackout and was taken to the ER, is it not the persons choice to have tests done? 

Answer:

I am responding to the following question. If one were to collapse or blackout and taken to the ER, is it the person's consent to have tests run? I am assuming the question is asking, if one collapses, would genetic testing be done for Huntington's disease without their permission while they were unconscious. As there is no reason to do Huntington's disease genetic testing as part of a work up for collapse or blackouts and since having a diagnosis of Huntington's disease should not affect the work up or treatment of blackouts or collapse, there would be no clinical reason to order genetic testing in an ER setting. It usually takes 2-4 weeks to get test results for genetic testing. Blood must be sent to specific laboratories that have the capability to do HD genetic testing. It is highly unlikely that anyone would order an HD test through an emergency room. The general medical policy is to have an individual go through genetic counseling before they decide to have testing.

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Response by:

Sandra  K Kostyk, MD, PhD Sandra K Kostyk, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University