Triglycerides - plasma or serum

Last updated: Wednesday, 31, March, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL of blood in EDTA or plain tube. Specimen must be collected after 14 hours fasting.

Method

Spectrophotometry.

Reference Interval

<1.7 mmol/L (fasting).

Application

Assessment of lipid status, especially in patients at high risk of developing hyperlipidaemia eg, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism.

Used in the calculation of LDL cholesterol by the Friedewald formula.

Lipoprotein electrophoresis should only be performed in patients with triglyceride levels of >4 mmol/L.
See Lipoprotein electrophoresis - plasma or serum.

Interpretation

Increased levels seen in primary hypertriglyceridaemic states, and secondary to nephrotic syndrome, hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus, alcoholism, oral contraceptive use or corticosteroid medication.

Now generally accepted as an independent risk factor for coronary artery disease.

Reference

Linton MF and Fazio S. Am J Cardiol. 2003; 92(1A): 19i-26i.