Formal Name
Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol
This article was last reviewed on
This article waslast modified on 5 December 2018.
At a Glance
When to get tested?

This test is not in routine use in the United Kingdom

On average it takes 7 working days for the blood test results to come back from the hospital, depending on the exact tests requested. Some specialist test results may take longer, if samples have to be sent to a reference (specialist) laboratory. The X-ray & scan results may take longer. If you are registered to use the online services of your local practice, you will be able to access your results online.

If the doctor wants to see you about the result(s), you will be offered an appointment. If you are concerned about your test results, you will need to arrange an appointment with your doctor so that all relevant information including age, ethnicity, health history, signs and symptoms, laboratory and other procedures (radiology, endoscopy, etc.), can be considered.

Lab Tests Online-UK is an educational website designed to provide patients and carers with information on laboratory tests used in medical care. We are not a laboratory and are unable to comment on an individual's health and treatment.

Reference ranges are dependent on many factors, including patient age, gender, sample population, and test method, and numeric test results can have different meanings in different laboratories.

For these reasons, you will not find reference ranges for the majority of tests described on this web site. The lab report containing your test results should include the relevant reference range for your test(s). Please consult your doctor or the laboratory that performed the test(s) to obtain the reference range if you do not have the lab report.

For more information on reference ranges, please read Reference Ranges and What They Mean.

What is being tested?

Very low density lipoprotein is one of the three major lipoprotein particles. The other two are high density lipoprotein (HDL) and low density lipoprotein (LDL). Each particle contains a mixture of cholesterol, triglyceride and protein, but in varying amounts unique to each type of particle. VLDL contains the highest amount of triglyceride and is called a triglyceride rich lipoprotein. VLDL particles are released into the blood by the liver and circulate in the bloodstream, ultimately being converted into LDL as they lose triglyceride having carried it to other parts of the body.

There's no simple, direct way to measure VLDL which is why it's normally not measured during routine lipid testing.

The VLDL cholesterol concentration can be measured directly using a technique called ultracentrifugation. However, this technique is not straightforward and not usually done in clinical laboratories. This test is generally carried out in specialist laboratories, most often for research purposes.

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Common Questions
  • Is there anything I should know?

    VLDL cholesterol concentrations, like all lipoprotein fractions, can be measured directly using techniques such as lipoprotein electrophoresis and ultracentrifugation. However, these techniques are complex and expensive and are not usually done in clinical laboratories. These tests are generally carried out in specialty laboratories, most often for research purposes.