The presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood is the strongest modifiable risk factor for coronary heart disease. As such, measuring blood lipid levels is a standard and important part of cardiovascular risk assessment. Previously, patients who got lipid profiling tests were required to fast, in order to avoid variability in the results caused by eating. However, more recent evidence showed that nonfasting lipid profiles can actually better predict coronary disease and risk of stroke, and removes risks associated with fasting for diabetic or frail patients.
The Canadian Cardiovascular Society and College of Family Physicians of Canada currently recommend nonfasting testing for complete lipid profiles. However, these changes were only recently accepted by the BC Ministry of Health. Spearheading this policy change is HLI Principal Investigator, Dr. Gordon Francis, who is also the Director of the Healthy Heart Program Prevention Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital.
“This is so much more convenient for patients and now there is no need to wait at all to get your blood work done. For example, a patient can go straight from their doctor’s office to the lab, rather than sitting on a lab requisition at home for months because of the hassle of fasting.”Dr. Gordon Francis