How useful are the newer methods for measuring cholesterol, such as the vertical auto profile (VAP) test, compared with the traditional “fasting lipid panel”?
—Chou Y. Wu, MD, Sacramento, Calif.

Do as you would do for a home BP device: Calibrate the new tool with the standard tool (a traditional lipid panel in this case), using a known specimen. If they agree, you can use the new device with confidence. Remember that a small variation, i.e., ±5-10 mg/dL, is of no clinical significance.
—Peter F. Cohn, MD (106-5)