Lp(a) level increases during childhood
Lipoprotein(a) levels from childhood to adulthood: Data in nearly 3,000 children who visited a pediatric lipid clinic
Introduction and methods
According to clinical guidelines, Lp(a) measurement should be considered at least once in each person’s lifetime to identify those individuals with extremely elevated Lp(a) levels (≥180 mg/dL) and to improve cardiovascular risk assessment . Lp(a) levels are measured only once based on the assumption they do not change with age nor vary within individuals [2,3], but long-term follow-up studies are lacking to confirm this. Also, data on Lp(a) levels are in adults, but it is unknown whether Lp(a) levels change during childhood.
Aim of the study
The authors evaluated whether Lp(a) levels change during childhood and if there is intra-individual variation.
This was a retrospective cohort study of 2740 children who visited the pediatric lipid clinic of the Amsterdam University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands between June 1989 and October 2017 after referral for a tentative diagnosis of (inherited) dyslipidemia. Inclusion criterion was a first Lp(a) measurement before the age of 18 years, and exclusion criteria were lacking or incomplete Lp(a) measurement and PCSK9 inhibitor use during follow-up. All Lp(a) measurements were carried out by the same clinical laboratory of the Amsterdam UMC.
Association between Lp(a) levels and age
- In children without lipid-lowering medication (n = 2254), mean Lp(a) level increased by 22% from age 8 to 20 years.
- In children who were on statins (n = 418), mean Lp(a) levels increased by 43% from age 8 to 20 years.
- In children who took statins and ezetimibe (n = 65), mean Lp(a) levels increased by 9% from age 8 to 20 years. Only in this group, Lp(a) levels first increased (until age 15 years), after which they seemed to stabilize.
- In 68% of the children, a change of ≥20% between two measurements was seen.
- The intra-child variation in Lp(a) levels was 70%.
Lp(a) levels increased by 22% (no lipid-lowering medication) or 43% (statin use) from childhood into adulthood and varied markedly within children. The authors therefore recommend measuring Lp(a) levels at least twice during childhood and to repeat this in adulthood.