Importance: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), a key cardiovascular disease marker, is often estimated by the Friedewald or Martin equation, but calculating LDL-C is less accurate in patients with a low LDL-C level or hypertriglyceridemia (triglyceride [TG] levels ≥400 mg/dL). Objective: To design a more accurate LDL-C equation for patients with a low LDL-C level and/or hypertriglyceridemia. Design, Setting, and Participants: Data on LDL-C levels and other lipid measures from 8656 patients seen at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center between January 1, 1976, and June 2, 1999, were analyzed by the β-quantification reference method (18715 LDL-C test results) and were randomly divided into equally sized training and validation data sets. Using TG and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol as independent variables, multiple least squares regression was used to develop an equation for very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which was then used in a second equation for LDL-C. Equations were tested against the internal validation data set and multiple external data sets of either β-quantification LDL-C results (n = 28891) or direct LDL-C test results (n = 252888). Statistical analysis was performed from August 7, 2018, to July 18, 2019. Main Outcomes and Measures: Concordance between calculated and measured LDL-C levels by β-quantification, as assessed by various measures of test accuracy (correlation coefficient [R2], root mean square error [RMSE], mean absolute difference [MAD]), and percentage of patients misclassified at LDL-C treatment thresholds of 70, 100, and 190 mg/dL. Results: Compared with β-quantification, the new equation was more accurate than other LDL-C equations (slope, 0.964; RMSE = 15.2 mg/dL; R2 = 0.9648; vs Friedewald equation: Slope, 1.056; RMSE = 32 mg/dL; R2 = 0.8808; vs Martin equation: Slope, 0.945; RMSE = 25.7 mg/dL; R2 = 0.9022), particularly for patients with hypertriglyceridemia (MAD = 24.9 mg/dL; vs Friedewald equation: MAD = 56.4 mg/dL; vs Martin equation: MAD = 44.8 mg/dL). The new equation calculates the LDL-C level in patients with TG levels up to 800 mg/dL as accurately as the Friedewald equation does for TG levels less than 400 mg/dL and was associated with 35% fewer misclassifications when patients with hypertriglyceridemia (TG levels, 400-800 mg/dL) were categorized into different LDL-C treatment groups. Conclusions and Relevance: The new equation can be readily implemented by clinical laboratories with no additional costs compared with the standard lipid panel. It will allow for more accurate calculation of LDL-C level in patients with low LDL-C levels and/or hypertriglyceridemia (TG levels, ≤800 mg/dL) and thus should improve the use of LDL-C level in cardiovascular disease risk management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine