What is lipemia?

Lipemia is defined as excess lipids or fats in the blood. Lipemic serum will appear turbid or milky.

What causes lipemia?

Lipemia is caused by a rise in chylomicrons following a meal containing fat.

How does lipemia interfere?

The large particles causing lipemia will interfere with instrument methods that are based on light detection or scatter. Again, it is the responsibility of the Medical Laboratory Technologist to report any findings of lipemia so that results can be interpreted with this in mind.

How can lipemia be avoided?

In some cases Lipemia can be avoided simply by having the patient fast for 8 hours prior to the sample being drawn. In disease processes where the liver is unable to remove the chylomicrons from the blood, the appearance of lipemic serum may be unavoidable.