No need for children to fast before cholesterol test

Children may not be required to fast overnight before cholesterol checks, research suggests.

No need to fast before cholesterol test (Photograph: SPL)
No need to fast before cholesterol test (Photograph: SPL)

Patients are usually advised to fast before a lipid assessment so as not to affect the result, but this can force many to rearrange appointments.

Recent studies in adults showed that removing the need to fast did not compromise the test's predictive power.

To assess whether this applies to children, US researchers studied the cholesterol tests of 17,000 school children and adolescents.

Researchers assessed whether total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglyceride levels were related to whether the child had fasted.

The results, presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in Canada, showed that total cholesterol and HDL levels were similar between those that did and did not fast. There was only a slight increase in LDL cholesterol when fasting.

Triglycerides did vary depending on whether the child had fasted, however.

Study lead Ashley Skinner said: ‘These results suggest it might be acceptable to simply test children immediately during whatever clinical visit prompted the recommendation to test.'

Stephen Robinson

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