Jeff Meeusen, Ph.D., a clinical chemist and Co-Director of Cardiovascular Laboratory Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, recently authored an article in Clinical Laboratory News that discusses patient fasting in lipid testing. According to Dr. Meeusen, while lipids measured on fasting samples have always been the status quo, the rules might be about to change.
After decades of dogma requiring an overnight fast prior to blood collection for lipid measurements, several prominent medical societies have recently endorsed the routine use of non-fasting lipids. This shift toward non-fasting has stimulated much debate. Laboratorians certainly do not want to sacrifice quality for the sake of convenience. However, new studies directly assessing the impact of fasting on lipid measures have provided sufficient data to support the claim that non-fasting lipid testing is evidence-based medicine that provides superior care for the majority of patients.
According to Dr. Meeusen, multiple independent and highly powered studies suggest that non-fasting lipids are similar (or better) than fasting measures for predicting risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, routine, non-fasting lipid panels can accommodate a majority of patients without the need for separate fasting visits.
"Thus, routine non-fasting lipids are not only convenient but also evidence-based. These findings empower laboratories to build a new paradigm for lipid testing that better accommodates most patients while maintaining high-quality care for special cases of dyslipidemia," says Dr. Meeusen.