News Flash > Cardiovascular Health

 

Fasting Not Necessary for Some Vascular Disease Tests

Reported November 16, 2009


(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Researchers say it's now possible to simplify blood tests done to detect whether patients have vascular disease.

Vascular disease is a group of conditions that affect the circulatory system, including the arteries, veins, lymph vessels, etc. Peripheral arterial disease, aneurysms, venous blood clots and varicose veins, are a few examples of vascular diseases.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom say lipid tests for vascular disease can be made easier by just measuring the total and HDL cholesterol levels or apolipoproteins, without the need for fasting and without looking at triglyceride levels.

For their study, they looked at how lipids and apolipoproteins, the major blood molecules, relate to coronary heart disease (CHD) and ischemic stroke. They reviewed data from 302,430 individuals involved in 68 separate studies, who didn't initially have vascular disease. During follow ups, 8,857 individuals had suffered nonfatal heart attacks, 3,928 had died from heart attacks, 2,534 suffered ischemic strokes, 510 had hemorrhagic strokes and 2,536 had unclassified strokes.

 

 

Their analysis shows test results of cholesterol levels predict similar risk outcomes to test results for apolipoproteins. They also found tests on patients who fasted and didn't fast yielded similar results.

"This finding suggests that current discussions about whether to measure cholesterol levels or apolipoproteins in vascular risk assessment should hinge more on practical considerations (e.g., cost, availability, and standardization of assays) than on major differences in strength of epidemiological associations," study authors stated.

Source: JAMA, 2009;302(18):1993-2000