Research Identifies Best Criterion for Cholesterol Test

SEPTEMBER 01, 2003

    Because testing everyone for high levels of blood cholesterol is expensive, a blood test at age 50 may be the most cost-effective method of 4 methods tested to identify those most likely to have a heart attack or stroke in the future. This study result was published recently in the British Medical Journal.

    In a purely hypothetical study, the researchers screened 6307 people aged 30 to 74 with no history of heart attack, stroke, or angina. They used 4 different criteria, to see which of the criteria worked best. The researchers also applied the criteria of the Framingham 10-year coronary heart disease risk equation.

    First, using the guidelines of the British National Health Services, the researchers selected 43.4% needing the cholesterol test; then they identified 81.2% of those as meeting the Framingham criteria for a 15% greater likelihood of a coronary episode in 10 years.

    A second screen, using the Sheffield table?a British set of rules?selected 73.1% of the group as needing the test; the researchers then identified better than 99% of those as meeting the Framingham criteria.

    Using fixed values of blood cholesterol, the screening required tests for only 17.8% of the group, with 75.9% of them meeting the Framingham criteria.

    The ?winning? test used age 50 as the criterion. This screening found that tests were needed for 46.3% of the group, with 92.8% of them identified as high-risk people. Although not as good as the Sheffield criterion, the age-50 screen is less expensive because fewer tests are needed.

Pharmacy Times Strategic Alliance

Pharmacist Education
Clinical features with downloadable PDFs

Personalize the information you receive by selecting targeted content and special offers.