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Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2

Does this test have other names?

Lp-PLA2

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 heart disease or stroke.

This test may help your healthcare provider figure out what treatments would be best for you to prevent a stroke. Things that can be done to prevent problems include taking medicines 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 may need 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 healthcare provider may also order a C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test. CRP also can show inflammation that could lead to heart disease or stroke.

Your provider 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?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

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 is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. 

Does this test pose any risks?

Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore. 

What might affect my test results?

Certain medicines can affect your results. These include beta blockers and steroids. 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. Be sure your healthcare provider 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. 

Medical Reviewers:

  • Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN
  • Haldeman-Englert, Chad, MD