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Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test

Last updated May 9, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test measures the levels of Lp-PLA2 in blood.

What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Lp-PLA2 Blood Test
  • PLAC Blood Test

What is Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2, or Lp-PLA2, is an enzyme that travels alongside low-density lipoprotein (LDL). It is believed to contribute to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Lipoproteins carry cholesterol and fats through blood. They are necessary because cholesterol and fats are not soluble in blood and would otherwise coagulate and clog blood vessels
  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) transport fat and cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Thus, they are called “bad” cholesterol
  • Lp-PLA2, made by inflammatory cells, is associated with LDL. It is believed to cause thickening of the arterial walls through an unknown mechanism involving the breakdown of fat molecules in LDL
  • Arteries are normally elastic in nature. This allows them to transmit blood effectively and to also rapidly adapt to changes in blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis is a form of arterial thickening in which arteries become rigid due to invasion and accumulation of white blood cells. It is associated with the buildup of fatty acid plaques, which can block blood vessels and cause a heart attack or stroke
  • The Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test measures the levels of Lp-PLA2 in blood. It is used to estimate the risk for cardiovascular disease and also helps provide a measure of one’s cardiovascular health

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing the Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test:

  • Evaluating the risk for cardiovascular disease that is marked by
    • Chest pain or discomfort
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Jaw pain
    • Family history of cardiovascular disease             
  •   Monitoring therapy for cardiovascular disease or high cholesterol levels

How is the Specimen Collected for Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process of obtaining blood sample in adults:

  • A band is wrapped around the arm, 3-4 inches above the collection site (superficial vein that lies within the elbow pit)
  • The site is cleaned with 70% alcohol in an outward spiral, away from the zone of needle insertion
  • The needle cap is removed and is held in line with the vein, pulling the skin tight
  • With a small and quick thrust, the vein is penetrated using the needle
  • The required amount of blood sample is collected, by pulling the plunger of the syringe out slowly
  • The wrap band is removed, gauze is placed on the collection site, and the needle is removed
  • The blood is immediately transferred into the blood container, which has the appropriate preservative/clot activator/anti-coagulant
  • The syringe and the needle are disposed into the appropriate “sharp container” for safe and hygienic disposal
  • OR, a finger-stick method (pricking one’s finger) may be used for obtaining a sample of blood

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test.

What is the Significance of the Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test Result?

  • High Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) levels may indicate increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and other cardiovascular conditions including a stroke or heart attack

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario.

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

Certain factors may interfere with the results of the High Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2 Blood Test. These include:

  • Stress
  • Pregnancy
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Individual genetic predispositions to certain enzyme deficiencies 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis.

  • A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of the heart muscle becomes obstructed

The following article link will help you understand heart attack:


Please visit our Laboratory Procedures Center for more physician-approved health information:


References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: May 15, 2015
Last updated: May 9, 2019