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August 1990

Variabilities in Serum Lipid Measurements

Arch Intern Med. 1990;150(8):1583-1585. doi:10.1001/archinte.1990.00040031583002

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute created the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)1 to establish guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Despite widespread acceptance of those guidelines, certain components have been questioned and argued extensively2 (ie, deemphasis on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels as a useful risk measurement, lack of specific age and sex guidelines, and the difficulty in obtaining accurate serum lipid level measurements). The reports by Bookstein et al3 and Mogadam et al4 in this issue of the Archives examine the extent to which analytical and biological variables may affect the reliability and reproducibility of repeated serum lipid measurements and the accuracy of the classification of risk for any given individual. These articles also address the feasibility of the implementation of NCEP guidelines in light of their findings. (A recent NCEP publication also addresses these concerns in considerable detail.5)