Lipoprotein (a) test is done specifically to know your risk level of heart disease. Is you are a healthy person your lp-a values should be <14mg/dL. Lp-a is an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease. Hence getting this test performed is of vital importance.
How The Lipoprotein (a) Test Is performed
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.
Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
Who performs This lipoprotein (a) Test
Randox labs, Lab Test Online, Berkeley Heart Lab are some of the testing laboratories that will perform lipoprotein (a) test for you. This test can be done along with normal lipid profile.
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 moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing
Why the Lipoprotein (a) Test Is Performed
High levels of lipoproteins can increase the risk of heart disease. The test is done to check your risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
Normal Results for Lp (a)
Normal values of lipoprotein (a) are below 30 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). If the lp (a) values are < 14 mg/dL it is very good. Above 30mg/dL indicates high risk. At this level the process of atherosclerosis sets in. Gradually the plaque may block the flow of blood to the heart and may result in heart attack.
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 for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
What Abnormal levels of lp (a)Results Mean
Higher than normal values of Lp (a) are associated with a high risk for atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
Values of lp (a) as shown by the test, if above 30mg/dL indicates high risk. At this level the process of atherosclerosis sets in. Lipoprotein (a) is almost 300 times more atherogenic than LDL cholesterol. Gradually the plaque may block the flow of blood to the heart and may result in heart attack. The particles attached to the blood vessels consists of lipoprotein (a).This proves that Lp(a) is the true risk factor for heart disease.
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Fainting or feeling light-headed
- Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
- Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
1) The New York Times, “Lipoprotein-a Overview”, accessed on 19th May 2013, www.health.nytimes.com
2) Mahley RW, Weisgraber KH, Bersot TP. Disorders of lipid metabolism. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 36.
3) Semenkovich CF. Disorders of lipid metabolism. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine . 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 217.