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Screening for Dyslipidemia in Younger Adults

A Systematic Review to Update the 2008 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

Evidence Syntheses, No. 138

Investigators: , MD, , MLS, , MPH, , BA, , MPH, and , MD.

Author Information and Affiliations
Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); .
Report No.: 14-05206-EF-1

Structured Abstract


This review updates prior reviews on screening for lipid disorders in adults, and will be used by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to update its 2008 recommendation. Unlike prior USPSTF reviews, this one focuses on screening in younger adults, defined as adults ages 21 to 39 years, as there is more uncertainty about the need to perform lipid screening in this population than in older adults.

Data Sources:

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Ovid MEDLINE from 2008 through May 2016 and manually reviewed reference lists.

Study Selection:

Two investigators independently reviewed the literature for studies on screening for and treatment of dyslipidemia in asymptomatic adults ages 21 to 39 years, including randomized, controlled trials, case-control studies, cohort studies, and good-quality systematic reviews.


No study evaluated the effects of lipid screening versus no screening, treatment versus no treatment, or delayed versus earlier treatment on clinical outcomes in younger adults. In addition, no study evaluated the diagnostic yield of alternative screening strategies in younger adults (e.g., targeted screening of persons with a family history of hyperlipidemia vs. general screening). Longitudinal studies suggest that lipid levels have a tendency to increase over time in younger adults, though no study evaluated how lipid levels change according to different intervals between repeat testing or the proportion of patients who would move from one risk category to another.


Lack of direct evidence in younger adults.


Direct evidence on benefits and harms of screening for or treatment of dyslipidemia in younger adults remains unavailable.


Prepared for: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services1, Contract No. HHSA-290-2012-00015-I, Task Order No. 2. Prepared by: Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center2

Suggested citation:

Chou R, Dana T, Blazina I, Daeges M, Bougatsos C, Jeanne T. Screening for Dyslipidemia in Younger Adults: A Systematic Review to Update the 2008 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation. Evidence Synthesis No. 138. AHRQ Publication No. 14-05206-EF-1. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2016.

This report is based on research conducted by the Pacific Northwest Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) under contract to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Rockville, MD (Contract No. HHSA-290-2012-00015-I, Task Order No. 2). The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the authors, who are responsible for its contents, and do not necessarily represent the views of AHRQ. Therefore, no statement in this report should be construed as an official position of AHRQ or of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The information in this report is intended to help health care decisionmakers—patients and clinicians, health system leaders, and policymakers, among others—make well-informed decisions and thereby improve the quality of health care services. This report is not intended to be a substitute for the application of clinical judgment. Anyone who makes decisions concerning the provision of clinical care should consider this report in the same way as any medical reference and in conjunction with all other pertinent information (i.e., in the context of available resources and circumstances presented by individual patients).

This report may be used, in whole or in part, as the basis for development of clinical practice guidelines and other quality enhancement tools, or as a basis for reimbursement and coverage policies. AHRQ or U.S. Department of Health and Human Services endorsement of such derivative products may not be stated or implied.

None of the investigators has any affiliations or financial involvement that conflicts with the material presented in this report.


5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857; www​.ahrq.gov


Oregon Health & Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, OR 97239; www​.ohsu.edu/epc

Bookshelf ID: NBK396243PMID: 27875038


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