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Lipid testing 'does not require fasting'

By Mark Pownall

Lipid testing could be hugely simplified by just looking at total and HCL cholesterol and not insisting on a fasting sample, say UK researchers.

Their meta-analysis, of more than 300,000 people who did not have vascular disease at the start of 68 long-term prospective studies, found that the power of cholesterol levels to predict cardiovascular risk did not rely on whether the patient had fasted or not.

It also found that measuring triglycerides or LDL-C levels made vascular risk predictions no more accurate, and that it was sufficient to measure just total cholesterol and HDL-C.

The researchers – from the Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration Coordinating Centre at the University of Cambridge – also found that apolipoproteins such as Apo B and apo AI were no better at predicting cardiovascular risk than calculations using total cholesterol and HDL.

Lead researcher Professor John Danesh, professor of medicine from the University of Cambridge, said the study specifically addressed a question cardiovascular researchers have been asking - about whether to measure cholesterol or apolipoproteins, adding: ‘Discussions should instead hinge more on practical considerations - for example cost, availability and standardisation of assays - than on major differences in strength of epidemiological associations.'

JAMA 2009;302: 1993-2000.

The meta-analysis found that the power of cholesterol levels to predict cardiovascular risk did not rely on whether the patient had fasted or not The meta-analysis found that the power of cholesterol levels to predict cardiovascular risk did not rely on whether the patient had fasted or not

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