A practical approach to the laboratory diagnosis of dyslipidemia

Ishwarlal Jialal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Disorders in lipoprotein metabolism (dyslipidemia) can result in premature atherosclerosis or pancreatitis. Dyslipidemias can be classified as hypercholesterolemia, hypertriglyceridemia, combined hyperlipidemia, and low levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. All of the dyslipidemias can be primary or secondary. Both elevated levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol and decreased levels of HDL cholesterol predispose to premature atherosclerosis. Triglyceride levels greater than 1,000 mg/dL increase the risk for pancreatitis. In the appraisal of the dyslipidemias, measurement of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL- cholesterol and obtaining the LDL cholesterol by Friedewald equation is usually sufficient in the majority of patients. However, in some cases, such as in the diagnosis of the Type III dyslipidemia and when triglycerides are ≤400 mg/dL, ultracentrifugation is required to determine the VLDL or LDL cholesterol. Lipoprotein electrophoresis can be useful in the diagnosis of Type III dyslipidemia (broad beta band) and also to detect chylomicrons. In young subjects with coronary artery disease with a normal LDL cholesterol an apolipoprotein B-100 level may be a useful test. In children and young adults with severe hypertriglyceridemia, measurement of lipoprotein lipase activity or assaying apolipoprotein C-II levels can be useful in elucidating the cause. Also, laboratory tests are useful in excluding a secondary cause of dyslipidemia (urinalysis, plasma creatinine, TSH, glucose, protein electrophoresis, alkaline phosphatase and transaminases). Thus, laboratory investigations play an important role in the management of dyslipidemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-138
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Dyslipidemia
  • High density lipoprotein cholesterol
  • Low density lipoprotein cholesterol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'A practical approach to the laboratory diagnosis of dyslipidemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this