VLDL and LDL cholesterol can be estimated in most people by the Friedwald formula.

Specimen: Fasting serum with triglycerides < 400 mg/dL. Fasting is typically "overnight".


Friedewald Formulas


VLDL cholesterol in mg/dL =

= ((triglycerides in mg/dL) / 5)


LDL cholesterol =

= ((total cholesterol in mg/dL) - (VLDL cholesterol in mg/dL) - (HDL cholesterol in mg/dL)) =

= (total cholesterol in mg/dL) - (((triglycerides in mg/dL) / 5) + (HDL cholesterol in mg/dL))


NOTE: This assumes that results are in mg/dL. For mmol/L, divide by 2.2 instead of 5.



• The calculations are not valid when the triglyceride > 400 mg/dL or if the patient has a type III hyperlipoproteinemia.

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