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Clin Chem. 2003 Nov;49(11):1785-96.

Report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Workshop on Lipoprotein(a) and Cardiovascular Disease: recent advances and future directions.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Northwest Lipid Research Laboratories, 2121 N. 35th St., Seattle, WA 98103, USA. smm@u.washington.edu


It has been estimated that approximately 37% of the US population judged to be at high risk for developing coronary artery disease (CAD), based on the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines, have increased plasma lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)], whereas Lp(a) is increased in only 14% of those judged to be at low risk. Therefore, the importance of establishing a better understanding of the relative contribution of Lp(a) to the risk burden for CAD and other forms of vascular disease, as well as the underlying mechanisms, is clearly evident. However, the structural complexity and size heterogeneity of Lp(a) have hindered the development of immunoassays to accurately measure Lp(a) concentrations in plasma. The large intermethod variation in Lp(a) values has made it difficult to compare data from different clinical studies and to achieve a uniform interpretation of clinical data. A workshop was recently convened by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to evaluate our current understanding of Lp(a) as a risk factor for atherosclerotic disorders; to determine how future studies could be designed to more clearly define the extent to which, and mechanisms by which, Lp(a) participates in these processes; and to present the results of the NHLBI-supported program for the evaluation and standardization of Lp(a) immunoassays. This report includes the most recent data presented by the workshop participants and the resulting practical and research recommendations.

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