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Guideline recommendations for the management of lipids in patients at risk for cardiovascular disease is largely based on low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentration. LDL-C is commonly calculated by the Friedewald equation, which has many limitations. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) equation better estimates LDL-C, particularly in patients with hypertriglyceridemia and/or low LDL-C. We validated the NIH LDL-C equation at the first Canadian clinical laboratory to implement this equation. A total of 3161 lipid ultracentrifugation results from a specialized lipid cohort of 2836 patients were included. LDL-C was calculated using the NIH and Friedewald equations and compared to LDL-C measured by ultracentrifugation. We determined the accuracy of these equations at treatment thresholds and developed NIH equation restriction criteria to ensure only accurate results are reported. Ultracentrifugation LDL-C more strongly correlated with NIH-calculated LDL-C (r2 = 0.889) than Friedewald-calculated LDL-C (r2 = 0.807) and resulted in fewer non-sensical negative LDL-C values. The correlation for NIH-calculated LDL-C improved to r2 = 0.975 after applying our restriction criteria. The NIH equation showed equivalent or superior concordance with ultracentrifugation at treatment thresholds. The LDL-C mean absolute difference increased with increasing TG and decreasing LDL-C concentrations, although the NIH equation was more robust under both conditions. We validated the NIH equation against ultracentrifugation in a cohort with a wide lipid concentration range, which supported its superiority over the Friedewald equation. We recommend clinical implementing the NIH equation for all patients except those with type III hyperlipoproteinemia or TG > 9.04 mmol/L, with an LDL-C lower reporting limit of <0.50 mmol/L. Copyright © 2021 The Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Victoria Higgins, Lawrence A Leiter, Sarah R Delaney, Daniel R Beriault. Validating the NIH LDL-C equation in a specialized lipid cohort: Does it add up? Clinical biochemistry. 2022 Jan;99:60-68

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PMID: 34656564

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