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Use Nonfasting Blood for Routine Lipid Profiles, Says EAS/EFLM

The European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) and the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM) recommend that "nonfasting blood samples be routinely used for the assessment of plasma lipid profiles" (total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides) in a joint statement that was published online April 26, 2016 in the European Heart Journal.

The international writing committee of experts from eight European countries, Australia, and the US add the caveats that clinicians should consider repeating a nonfasting lipid profile test with a fasting test if plasma triglycerides are above 5 mmol/L (440 mg/dL), and importantly, they should immediately refer a patient with life-threatening or extremely high concentrations of triglycerides or LDL cholesterol to a lipid clinic or a physician who specializes in lipid disorders.

Moreover, laboratory reports should flag abnormally high nonfasting lipid values.

"I hope that most laboratories in the entire world will stop asking patients to fast before lipid profile testing, as this might make more people have cholesterol and triglyceride measurements [and] ultimately, together with their doctor, facilitate focus on prevention of cardiovascular disease," lead author Dr Børge G Nordestgaard (Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark) told heartwire from Medscape in an email.