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A Skin Test for Cholesterol

Palm monitor may be more accurate than just a blood test

TUESDAY, June 25, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- For some people, getting a cholesterol count from the palm of the hand may be much better than the traditional blood test.

Your cholesterol level is a primary indicator of heart health. And if you suffer from coronary artery disease, having an accurate cholesterol count could be mean the difference between life and death.

That's why the announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it has cleared the way for a cholesterol skin test may be significant. The lab test -- called Cholesterol 1,2,3 -- uses the skin on the palm of the hand to measure cholesterol. Most important, the FDA agrees with the test's manufacturer that the results may be more accurate than a blood test alone.

But the FDA is taking it slowly. Made by International Medical Innovations Inc. of Toronto, Canada, the test can be used only on those people with severe coronary artery disease, and it has to be used in addition to the standard blood test.

With all that said, the company's research, which was validated by the FDA, found that, "in patients with severe disease or previous heart attack, it could provide 4 percent to 15 percent more information about risk of severe coronary artery disease beyond that already available with blood cholesterol and other risk factors."

The palm test involves the placing of a BandAid-like pad on the palm. The chemical solution is then applied, and after three minutes a hand-held "reader" scans the pad and inputs the data into a computer, which displays the results.

Here is the FDA Talk Paper announcing the agency's approval for marketing Cholesterol 1,2,3.

Here are the guidelines for cholesterol control from the National Institutes of Health.

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