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Screening for lipid disorders in adults

Sandeep Vijan, MD
Section Editors
Mason W Freeman, MD
Joann G Elmore, MD, MPH
Deputy Editors
Howard Libman, MD, FACP
Gordon M Saperia, MD, FACC


This topic addresses issues surrounding screening for lipid disorders in an adult primary prevention setting. The lipid profile and its components (total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein [LDL] cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein [HDL] cholesterol, and triglycerides) are some of the most commonly ordered laboratory tests in clinical practice. The most common indication for this test (or its components) is for aiding the process of determining cardiovascular disease (CVD) event risk. Other indications for these tests include the following:

Identifying patients who are at high risk for a lipid abnormality due to a family history of genetic disorder, such as familial hypercholesterolemia. This has been referred to as "reverse cascade screening." (See "Inherited disorders of LDL-cholesterol metabolism other than familial hypercholesterolemia".)

Identifying the cause of another clinical problem such as pancreatitis.

Managing patients with established atherosclerotic CVD.

Evaluating the efficacy of and/or adherence with lipid-lowering therapy and lifestyle modification.

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 30, 2017.
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