[heparin and insulin treatment of acute pancreatitis caused by hypertriglyceridemia. Experience of 5 cases]

Z Berger, R Quera, J Poniachik, D Oksenberg, J Guerrero
Revista Médica de Chile 2001, 129 (12): 1373-8

BACKGROUND: Hypertriglyceridemia over 1,000 mg/dl can provoke acute pancreatitis and its persistence can worsen the clinical outcome. On the contrary, a rapid decrease in triglyceride level is beneficial. Plasmapheresis has been performed in some patients to remove chylomicrons from the circulation, while heparin and/or insulin have been administered in some other cases to rapidly reduce blood triglycerides. Heparin and insulin stimulate lipoprotein-lipase activity and accelerate chylomicron degradation.

AIM: To report five patients with acute pancreatitis treated with heparin and insulin.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Five patients (4 females and 1 male) seen in the last two years, who suffered acute pancreatitis induced by hypertriglyceridemia are reported. Initial blood triglyceride levels were above 1,000 mg/dl (range 1,590-8,690 mg/dl). Besides the usual treatment of acute pancreatitis, heparin and/or insulin were administered intravenously in continuous infusion. Heparin dose was guided by usual parameters of blood coagulation, and insulin dose, by serial determinations of blood glucose. Pancreatic necrosis was demonstrated in 4 patients.

RESULTS: Serum triglyceride levels decreased to < 500 mg/dl within 3 days in all cases. No complication of treatment was observed and all patients survived. Early and late complications of pancreatitis occurred in one patient.

CONCLUSION: Administration of heparin and/or insulin is an efficient alternative to reduce triglyceride levels in patients with acute pancreatitis and hypertriglyceridemia.

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