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Clin Chem. 1998 Nov;44(11):2301-6.

Lipoprotein(a) as a risk factor for ischemic heart disease: metaanalysis of prospective studies.

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Foundation for Blood Research, Scarborough, ME 04070-0190, USA.


Although in vitro studies support a pathophysiologic role for lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] in the development of atherosclerosis, and retrospective studies consistently report that there is a relationship between Lp(a) and ischemic heart disease (IHD), the conclusions drawn from prospective studies about this relationship have been inconsistent. To address this issue, we have performed a metaanalysis of data available from prospective studies. Lp(a) concentrations expressed as mass units vary markedly between studies, reflecting the need for assay standardization. In 12 of 14 prospective studies, Lp(a) concentrations are higher in subjects who later develop IHD (cases) than in those who do not (controls), although there is variation in the size of the effect. Sample storage temperature may contribute to this variability. When the studies are analyzed collectively, Lp(a) concentrations are significantly higher in cases than in controls, and the extent of the effect is similar in men and women. These findings provide evidence in support of a causal role for Lp(a) in the development of atherosclerosis. Measurement of Lp(a) may be useful to guide management of individuals with a family history of IHD or with existing disease. The separation in values between cases and controls is not, however, sufficient to allow the use of Lp(a) as a screening test in the general population.

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