UCSF Navigation Bar

UCSF Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Home Page

Lab Manual for UCSF Clinical Laboratories

Lab Manual for SFGH

Internal Resources

Click here for more information about laboratory operations and procedures

If you have additional questions regarding this test, please call: 415-353-1667

Search Our Test Menu

Cholesterol, LDL

Item Value
Approval req'd? No
Available Stat? No
Test code LDL
Test group Cholesterol
Performed by Parnassus, Mission Bay & Mt. Zion Chemistry
In House Availability Test available 24 hours per day 7 days per week
Method Calculated (Friedewald formula)
Container type Gold top or Light Green top
Amount to Collect 3 mL blood
Sample type Serum or plasma
Preferred volume 1.5 mL serum or plasma
Min. Volume 1 mL serum or plasma
Units mg/dL
Normal range Total Cholesterol

Children and Adolescents (< 20 y/o):
Acceptable < 170 mg/dL
Borderline 170-199 mg/dL
High > 199 mg/dL

Adults (≥ 20 y/o):
Desirable < 200 mg/dL
Borderline 200-239 mg/dL
High > 239 mg/dL

HDL Cholesterol:

Acceptable > 39 mg/dL
Higher risk < 40 mg/dL
Lower risk > 59 mg/dL

LDL cholesterol

Children and Adolescents (< 20 y/o):
Acceptable < 110 mg/dL
Borderline high 110-129 mg/dL
High > 129 mg/dL

Adults: (≥ 20 y/o):
Optimal < 100 mg/dL
Near or above optimal 100-129 mg/dL
Borderline high-risk 130-159 mg/dL
High-risk 160-189 mg/dL
Very high-risk > 189 mg/dL

Total Cholesterol:HDL Cholesterol ratio:

Desirable < 6.0

Non-HDL Cholesterol values for adults (> 19 y/o):

Optimal < 130 mg/dL
Near or above optimal < 160 mg/dL
Borderline high-risk 160-189 mg/dL
High-risk > 189 mg/dL
Very high-risk > 219 mg/dL


Desirable (if fasting sample) < 150 mg/dL
Desirable (if fasting sample) < 200 mg/dL

If non-fasting sample is 200 mg/dL or more, testing on fasting sample is recommended

Risk classifications based on combination of NCEP-ATPIII guidelines and American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guidelines, 2013
Synonyms low density lipoprotein; LDL cholesterol; Coronary risk panel; lipid panel
Stability Room temperature 8 hours, refrigerated 2 days, frozen at -20C 1 week
Additional information To convert mg/dL to mmol/L (SI units) multiply by 0.0259.

LDL cholesterol is calculated from the formula: Total cholesterol-(HDL cholest. + Triglycerides/5). THIS ESTIMATE IS NOT RELIABLE IF TRIGLYCERIDES EXCEED 400 mg/dL, at which level the calculation of LDL cholesterol is suppressed and an explanatory comment is appended. To obtain a more reliable estimate of LDL cholesterol in this situation, request sendout testing for direct LDL assay.

The strict requirement of a fasting sample for lipid analysis is no longer considered necessary by many authorities. Changes in CV risk management guidelines, and the results of studies comparing fasting to non-fasting lipid levels, indicate that fasting samples need not be routinely required.
CPT coding 80061
LOINC code 13457-7
Last Updated 8/22/2016 4:18:16 PM
Entry Number 194
UCSF home page UCSF home page About UCSF Search UCSF UCSF Medical Center