Health Encyclopedia

 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Lipoprotein-a

Lp(a)

Lipoproteins are molecules made of proteins and fat. They carry cholesterol and similar substances through the blood.

A blood test can be done to measure a specific type of lipoprotein called lipoprotein-a, or Lp(a). A high level of Lp(a) is considered a risk factor for heart disease.

How the Test is Performed

A blood sample is needed.

How to Prepare for the Test

You will be asked not to eat anything for 12 hours before the test.

DO NOT smoke before the test.

How the Test will Feel

A needle is inserted to draw blood. You may feel slight pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.

Why the Test is Performed

High levels of lipoproteins can increase the risk for heart disease. The test is done to check your risk for atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.

It is not yet clear if this measurement leads to improved benefits for patients. Therefore, many insurance companies DO NOT pay for it.

The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology DO NOT recommend the test for most adults who DO NOT have symptoms. It may be useful for people at higher risk because of a strong family history of cardiovascular disease.

Normal Results

Normal values are below 30 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), or 1.7 mmol/L.

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

The example above shows the common measurements for results of these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.

What Abnormal Results Mean

Higher than normal values of Lp(a) are associated with a high risk for atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.

Considerations

Lp(a) measurements may provide more detail about your risk for heart disease, but the added value of this test beyond a standard lipid panel is unknown.

References

Genest J, Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 48.

Goff DC Jr, Lloyd-Jones DM, Bennett G, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the assessment of cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation. 2013;129(25 Suppl 2):S49-S73. PMID: 24222018 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24222018/.

Robinson JG. Disorders of lipid metabolism. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 195.

  • Atherosclerosis causes

    Atherosclerosis causes

    Animation

  •  

    Atherosclerosis causes - Animation

    Atherosclerosis is a condition in which deposits of fatty material, called plaques, develop in the walls of arteries, leading to a reduction or blockage of blood flow. It can affect almost any artery in the body. Atherosclerosis is the most important and most common type of arteriosclerosis, a group of diseases in which the wall of an artery becomes thicker and less elastic. The development of atherosclerosis is complex, but the primary event appears to be injury to the arterial wall. Many different factors can injure the artery's wall, triggering the formation of plaque, for example, turbulent blood flow due to high blood pressure (BP), inflammatory immune responses, certain infections, and chemical abnormalities of the blood, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Chemical signals that are generated as a result of injury cause white blood cells to attach to the arterial wall, where they collect cholesterol and other fatty material, eventually forming plaque. Over time, the build-up of plaque narrows the space within an artery. Certain risk factors, such as being a male, advanced age, and a family history of early atherosclerosis, cannot be changed. However, to help prevent atherosclerosis, individuals can refrain from tobacco use, decrease low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lose weight, consume fresh fruits and vegetables daily, eat a diet that is low in saturated fats, and exercise regularly. Diabetic individuals need to maintain strict control of their blood sugar. People at high risk for developing atherosclerosis may also benefit from taking certain drugs, such as statins, aspirin, or other antiplatelet drugs.

  • Atherosclerosis causes

    Animation

  •  

    Atherosclerosis causes - Animation

    Atherosclerosis is a condition in which deposits of fatty material, called plaques, develop in the walls of arteries, leading to a reduction or blockage of blood flow. It can affect almost any artery in the body. Atherosclerosis is the most important and most common type of arteriosclerosis, a group of diseases in which the wall of an artery becomes thicker and less elastic. The development of atherosclerosis is complex, but the primary event appears to be injury to the arterial wall. Many different factors can injure the artery's wall, triggering the formation of plaque, for example, turbulent blood flow due to high blood pressure (BP), inflammatory immune responses, certain infections, and chemical abnormalities of the blood, such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Chemical signals that are generated as a result of injury cause white blood cells to attach to the arterial wall, where they collect cholesterol and other fatty material, eventually forming plaque. Over time, the build-up of plaque narrows the space within an artery. Certain risk factors, such as being a male, advanced age, and a family history of early atherosclerosis, cannot be changed. However, to help prevent atherosclerosis, individuals can refrain from tobacco use, decrease low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lose weight, consume fresh fruits and vegetables daily, eat a diet that is low in saturated fats, and exercise regularly. Diabetic individuals need to maintain strict control of their blood sugar. People at high risk for developing atherosclerosis may also benefit from taking certain drugs, such as statins, aspirin, or other antiplatelet drugs.

    Tests for Lipoprotein-a

     
     

    Review Date: 7/7/2020

    Reviewed By: Thomas S. Metkus, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
    adam.com

     
     
     

     

     

    A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.
    Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.