Patients may not need to fast for cholesterol tests

Agencies should consider re-evaluating the recommendation that patients fast before obtaining a lipid panel.

Patients may not need to fast for cholesterol tests
Patients may not need to fast for cholesterol tests

HealthDay News -- Fasting and non-fasting measurements of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) have comparable prognostic value for identifying patients at risk for all-cause or cardiovascular mortality, according to researchers.

“National and international guidelines recommend fasting lipid panel measurement for risk stratification of patients for prevention of cardiovascular events,” wrote Bethany Doran, MD, of the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues in Circulation. “Yet, the prognostic value of fasting vs. non-fasting low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is uncertain.”

Data were analyzed from a nationally representative sample of patients participating in the National Health and Nutrition Survey III (1988 to 1994). Participants were stratified based on fasting status (≥8 hours or <8 hours). Propensity score matching was used to assemble cohorts (4,299 pairs of fasting and non-fasting individuals) with similar baseline characteristics.

LDL-C yielded similar prognostic value for all-cause mortality as non-fasting LDL-C (P=0.73), reported the investigators. In a Cox proportional hazard model, LDL-C by fasting status interaction term was not significant (P=0.11). Similar results were seen for cardiovascular mortality (fasting versus non-fasting, P=0.96; P=0.34).

“Non-fasting LDL-C has similar prognostic value as that of fasting LDL-C. National and international agencies should consider re-evaluating the recommendation that patients fast before obtaining a lipid panel,” concluded the researchers.

References

  1. Doran B et al. Circulation. 2014; doi: 10.1161/​CIRCULATIONAHA.114.010001
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