Screening for Dyslipidemia in Younger Adults: A Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Ann Intern Med. 2016 Oct 18;165(8):560-564. doi: 10.7326/M16-0946. Epub 2016 Aug 9.


Background: Dyslipidemia may occur in younger adults (defined as persons aged 21 to 39 years) and is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Screening might identify younger adults with asymptomatic dyslipidemia who may benefit from lipid-lowering therapies.

Purpose: To update the 2008 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force review on dyslipidemia screening in younger adults.

Data sources: The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and MEDLINE through May 2016, and reference lists.

Study selection: Randomized, controlled trials; cohort studies; and case-control studies on screening for or treatment of asymptomatic dyslipidemia in adults aged 21 to 39 years.

Data extraction: The plan was for 1 investigator to abstract data and a second to check their accuracy, and for 2 investigators to independently assess study quality; however, no studies met the inclusion criteria.

Data synthesis: 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 (such as targeted screening of persons with a family history of hyperlipidemia vs. general screening) in younger adults.

Limitation: No direct relevant evidence.

Conclusion: Direct evidence on the benefits and harms of screening for or treatment of dyslipidemia in younger adults remains unavailable. Estimating the potential effects of screening for dyslipidemia in this population requires extrapolation from studies performed in older adults.

Primary funding source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asymptomatic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Cause of Death
  • Dyslipidemias / diagnosis
  • Dyslipidemias / epidemiology*
  • Dyslipidemias / therapy
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening* / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • Young Adult