How should public health recommendations address Lp(a) measurement, a causative risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD)?

March 7, 2022
Cells under microscope

This article was originally published by Atherosclerosis.

Background and aims

Elevated concentrations of Lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] is an inherited, causal risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). This study aims to investigate the clinical utility for patients, and the economic benefit to healthcare systems and society of measuring Lp(a) concentrations more widely today.


We conducted a structured literature review to identify the economic and health benefits and costs of measuring the Lp(a) concentration, potential barriers hindering the uptake of the measure, and potential solutions to address them. These findings were then discussed in an advisory board attended by experts and patient organisations.


It was found that if Lp(a) concentration is measured more widely today, patients, healthcare system and society would experience clinical and economic benefits even before specific Lp(a) lowering pharmacological treatments become available. Furthermore , a wider uptake of the Lp(a) measurement would support the development of epidemiological data.


For Lp(a) measurement to be more widely used, key barriers which are hindering its uptake need to be addressed. These include i) the perception that the measure may have limited clinical value, ii) lack of awareness on Lp(a), iii) lack of data on the CV benefit of reducing Lp(a), iv) technical and clinical guidelines barriers, and v) healthcare system barriers. Scientific communities and industry should collaborate to address technical challenges and deficiencies in clinical guidelines. However, policy intervention will be crucial for national ASCVD plans to acknowledge the importance of Lp(a).