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Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2

Does this test have other names?


What is this test?

This test looks for a specific lipoprotein, Lp-PLA2, in your blood. The test is used to help predict your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Lipids are fats in your blood. Lipoproteins are combinations of fats and proteins that carry the fats in your bloodstream. If you have Lp-PLA2 in your blood, you may have fatty deposits in your arteries that are at risk of rupturing and causing a stroke.

This test may help your doctor figure out what preventative treatments would be best for you. Things that can be done to prevent problems include taking medications that lower lipid levels and making lifestyle changes.

New research suggests that Lp-PLA2 may better show who is at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke than HDL ("good) cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and VLDL cholesterol.

Why do I need this test?

You might have this test if you are at moderate or high risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke.

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your doctor may also order a C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test. CRP also can show inflammation that could lead to heart disease or stroke.

Your doctor also might order these tests to check the levels of different fats in your blood:

  • Cholesterol

  • Triglycerides

  • Apoliproteins, which are lipoproteins other than Lp-PLA2

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your health care provider.

Results are given in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). The normal range for Lp-PLA2 is less than 200 ng/mL.

If your results are higher, you may have inflammation in your arteries. When both your CRP and your Lp-PLA2 are higher, you may be at greater risk of having a stroke.

How is this test done?

The test requires a blood sample, which is drawn through a needle from a vein in your arm.

Does this test pose any risks?

Taking a blood sample with a needle carries risks that include bleeding, infection, bruising, or feeling dizzy. When the needle pricks your arm, you may feel a slight stinging sensation or pain. Afterward, the site may be slightly sore.

What might affect my test results?

Certain medications, such as beta blockers and steroids, can affect your results. Binge eating before the test can also affect your results.

How do I get ready for this test?

You will need to not eat or drink anything but water for 12 to 14 hours before this test. In addition, be sure your doctor knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.