Blood cholesterol screening in several environments using a portable, dry-chemistry analyzer and fingerstick blood samples
A multicenter study of blood cholesterol screening was performed in several typical environments, such as community sites (shopping malls and a supermarket), health care sites, work sites, a blood bank and a school. Cholesterol was measured with a portable, dry-chemistry analyzer using capillary blood obtained by fingerstick. Data are reported from a total of 13,824 participants, spanning the entire age spectrum. Overall, 25% of screened subjects had blood cholesterol levels above the age-specific cutpoints used in the current study. Although in the aggregate this screening experience very closely approximates the expected level of referrals, the proportion of referred screened subjects differed significantly among the 5 types of screening environments and by gender. Follow-up telephone interviews indicated that 53% of referrals had initiated a physician contact. More than 75% of those who had seen a physician reported that the diagnosis of hypercholesterolemia had been confirmed, and almost 72% had been prescribed a diet. A large proportion of referred screened subjects reported having modified their diet, particularly when recommended to do so by a physician. This study has yielded encouraging evidence that physicians gave referred screened subjects appropriate initial advice for managing hypercholesterolemia. The new technology for blood cholesterol measurement evaluated in the current study has proven to be a feasible and reliable means for measuring blood cholesterol in typical screening settings.