Extreme concentrations of high density lipoprotein cholesterol affect the calculation of low density lipoprotein cholesterol in the Friedewald formula and other proposed formulas

Clin Biochem. 2011 Dec;44(17-18):1451-6. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2011.09.009. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


Objectives: To investigate the effect of extreme levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) in the calculation of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) using Friedewald's formula (FF) and other formulas proposed recently.

Design and methods: Lipoprotein profile was performed in 2603 samples with HDL-C ≤ 20 mg/dL and 1953 samples with HDL-C ≥ 100 mg/dL.

Results: Wilcoxon's and Student's t-tests showed significant differences (p<0.001) between calculated LDL-C by different formulas and direct determination in the two groups of HDL-C values. Passing-Bablok regression and Bland-Altman plot showed disagreement for the four formulas studied, except for Vujovic formula in the HLD-C ≥ 100 mg/dL group.

Conclusions: Our results suggested that none of the formulas under analysis should be used for estimating LDL-C in samples with extreme HDL-C concentrations due to absence of statistical correlation with LDL-C direct measurement.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Atherosclerosis / blood
  • Atherosclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Humans
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Triglycerides