Synonyms: Lipoprotein ""Little a""; Lp(a); Lp ""Little a""

Why It Is Done

Lp(a) may be ordered, along with other lipid tests, when you have a family history of premature coronary artery disease, and when your doctor suspects a familial hypercholesterolemia. He may also order an Lp(a) level when you have had a stroke or heart attack, but have normal or only mildly elevated lipids.

Who Should Be Tested

People interested is assessing their risk for cardiovascular disease, especially those who are at greater risk such as those who are overweight, smoke cigarettes, have high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes, abnormal risk test results, and those with a family history of heart disease.

Test Overview

Lp(a) is an independent risk factor for heart disease. It is a lipoprotein, an LDL molecule with another protein (Apolipoprotein (a)) attached to it. In the body, Apolipoprotein (a) can interfere with the function of plasminogen (resulting in blood clot formation), and can help bind LDL molecules to artery walls (speeding up plaque formation and the narrowing and hardening of the arteries).

Lp(a) is ordered, along with other lipid tests, to selectively screen for risk factors for coronary artery disease and cerebral vascular disease. Some doctors have started to order Lp(a) and several other emerging cardiac risk markers (such as Apo B, hs-CRP, Apo A, and Homocysteine levels) on patients who have a strong family history of premature coronary artery disease.

How To Prepare

No special preparation is needed