Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States. While cholesterol has been implicated as a causal agent for this disease, it has been found that total cholesterol levels were found to be inadequate for predicting coronary heart disease (CHD.)
According to a recent article in Clinical Lab Products, researchers discovered that cholesterol was partitioned into several fractions based on density, which led to the recognition that a patient’s level of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) is inversely proportional to the development of CHD, while the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) is directly correlated to CHD. This has led to the development of methods for the routine assessment of HDL cholesterol, and the calculation of LDL cholesterol based on the Friedewald equation.
Since its discovery in 1963, Lipoprotein(a), Lp(a), has been identified as a risk factor for atherosclerotic diseases such as CHD and stroke. The article discusses several different testing approaches for Lp(a) in a patient sample, including immunoassay, electrophoresis, and ultracentrifugation.
Electrophoresis measures the cholesterol content. “Lp(a) migrates between VLDL and LDL on agarose gel,” says John O’Keefe, division manager for electrophoresis and immunodiagnostics at Helena Laboratories, Beaumont, Tex. “Users of Helena’s Spife system can determine the cholesterol content of HDL, LDL, VLDL, and Lp(a).”
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, uses Helena’s Spife system for the determination of Lp(a) levels.
According to Leslie Donato, Ph.D., co-director for cardiovascular laboratory medicine and for hospital clinical laboratory and point of care testing at the Mayo Clinic, “In conjunction with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), we can perform a comprehensive lipid profile."
Read the full article to learn more about lipid screening for cardiovascular disease.