Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Cholesterol test fasting "largely unnecessary" (Canada)
Fasting before getting a blood test of cholesterol levels may be unnecessary, a new Canadian study suggests. Current guidelines suggest taking blood samples for lipid tests like high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol after fasting for nine to 12 hours, but the requirement isn't always practical for patients. Fasting for routine blood work may discourage patients from going for the tests and blood labs may have long wait times in the morning that inconvenience people even more. In the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. Davinder Sidhu and Dr. Christopher Naugler of the University of Calgary looked at how long 209,180 people in Calgary fasted and their lipid results. Last year, the city's laboratory service changed its policy allowing samples to be processed regardless of the fasting time. "We found that fasting time showed little association with lipid subclass levels in a large community-based cohort," the study's authors concluded. "This finding suggests that fasting for routine lipid level determinations is largely unnecessary."