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Evidence to Improve Care

Frequency of Testing for Dyslipidemia

Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee Recommendations

  • In individuals with normal lipid levels or dyslipidemia (e.g., abnormal levels of fat and/or cholesterol in the blood), or for individuals currently being treated for dyslipidemia, there is insufficient evidence upon which the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee can make a recommendation on the frequency of lipid testing.

  • Until higher quality evidence becomes available, the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee recommends that consideration be given to using the current Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines.

Read the full OHTAC Recommendation report

Poor diet and lifestyle choices can lead to higher levels of fat in the blood than is healthy. When too much fat circulates through the blood, it can keep several organs from operating well and lead to serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease. About 23 percent of Canadians have abnormal levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, an unhealthy type of fat. In Ontario, patients with low and medium levels of risk for too much fat in their blood do not get tested as often as the Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends.

Health Quality Ontario Reviews Frequency of Testing Blood for Fat Levels

It is not known how often blood needs to be tested to catch abnormal fat levels. The Canadian Cardiovascular Society currently recommends people at low to high risk of cardiovascular disease should be tested every year and people with very low risk should be tested every four to five years.

Frequency of Testing for Dyslipidemia: An Evidence-Based Analysis
May 2014 (PDF)

Frequency of Testing for Dyslipidemia: A Systematic Review and Budget Impact Analysis
May 2014 (PDF)

Related Resources

The Effectiveness of Statins for Primary Prevention: A Rapid Review
February 2013 (PDF)

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The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care endorses this recommendation.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided the following response: The Ministry agrees with this recommendation and encourages health care professionals to consider using the current Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines.

Health Technology Assessment at Health Quality Ontario

As part of our core function to promote health care supported by the best available evidence, we use established scientific methods to analyze the evidence for a wide range of health interventions, including diagnostic tests, medical devices, interventional and surgical procedures, health care programs and models of care. These analyses are informed by input from a range of individuals, including patients and clinical experts. The Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee — a committee of the Health Quality Ontario board of directors — reviews the evidence and makes recommendations about whether health care interventions should be publicly funded or not. Draft recommendations are posted on the Health Quality Ontario website for feedback. Final recommendations are approved by our board of directors and then shared with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. For more detailed information, visit our Evidence to Improve Care pages.


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