UI Hospitals and Clinics

Lipid Clinic

The Lipid Clinic at UI Hospitals and Clinics provides support to those with high cholesterol or triglyceride levels or those who have a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Services include:

  • Lipid analysis
  • Genetic testing
  • Advanced therapies for lipid management, such as LDL Apheresis Treatment
  • Access to research protocols and investigational drugs

Patients treated in the Lipid Clinic include those with familial hypercholesterolemia, severe hypertriglyceridemia or statin intolerance.

LDL Apheresis Treatment

Most patients with high cholesterol levels can be treated using a combination of diet, exercise, and drugs. However, some patients continue to have very high cholesterol despite drug treatments. Until recently, these patients had no other treatment options. However, a procedure called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) apheresis is now available at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

LDL apheresis can be used to treat individuals for whom diet and maximum drug therapy is ineffective or poorly tolerated:

  • Patients whose LDL cholesterol is greater than 200 mg/dl and who have coronary heart disease
  • Patients whose LDL cholesterol is greater than 300 mg/dl

LDL apheresis removes the "bad" cholesterol from blood, including LDL, VLDL, and Lp(a). The treatment removes only the bad cholesterol and leaves the "good" HDL cholesterol and other blood substances.

During the procedure, a small portion of the patient's blood is continuously removed from a vein and separate into cells and plasma. The plasma is filtered through a material that binds and safely removes the LDL particles. The filtered plasma is then returned to the patient through a different vein.

A complete treatment takes about two to four hours and must be repeated every two weeks. LDL apheresis is performed in the DeGowin Blood Center at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

The safety and effectiveness of LDL apheresis has been established in more than 16 years of worldwide experience with more than 2,500 patients and 250,000 procedures. There is a low rate of side effects (most commonly low blood pressure).

Research has shown that with LDL apheresis, LDL cholesterol can be reduced by up to 80 percent. The reduction in LDL cholesterol has been shown to reduce heart attacks and the progression of coronary disease and improve vascular function.

Care Team

Physician, Internal Medicine