Lipoproteins are molecules made of proteins and fat. They transport cholesterol and similar compounds in the blood. The lipoprotein-a test measures the levels of lipoprotein-a in serum.
Lp(a); Lipoprotein(a); Lipoprotein “little a”
Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. An elastic band is placed around the upper arm to apply pressure and cause the vein to swell with blood. The puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic. A needle is inserted into the vein, and the blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. The blood will be processed in the laboratory, and the level of serum Lp(a) will be measured.
You will be asked to fast for 12 hours prior to the test. You may not smoke before the test.
A needle is inserted to draw blood. You may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
The test is performed as an additional tool to assess a person’s risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
Normal values are below 30 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter).
Higher than normal values of lipoprotein(a) are associated with a high risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attack.
There is very little risk for having your blood drawn. However, veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
General risks include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Fainting or feeling light-headed
- Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
- Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
- Multiple punctures to locate veins
Pagana , Pagana TJ. Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests. 2nd Ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby, Inc.; 2002:106-10.
Reviewed By: Steven Kang, MD, Division of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, East Bay Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Consultants Medical Group,Oakland, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.