[Acute pancreatitis caused by hypertriglyceridemia]

Tamás Baranyai, Viktória Terzin, Agota Vajda, Tibor Wittmann, László Czakó
Orvosi Hetilap 2010 November 7, 151 (45): 1869-74

UNLABELLED: Hypertriglyceridemia is reported to cause 1-7% of the cases of acute pancreatitis.

AIM: The aim of the present study was to assess the clinical features and management of pancreatitis with hypertriglyceridemia in our tertiary center.

METHODS: Between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2009, patients with a diagnosis of hypertriglyceridemia-induced acute pancreatitis were reviewed. Patients with pancreatitis and serum triglyceride levels greater than 11.3 mmol/l (≈1000 mg/dl) were included. Acute pancreatitis with other etiologies was excluded.

RESULTS: 26 patients (2 women, 24 men; median age at presentation 42 years; range: 22-70) were diagnosed with hypertriglyceridemia‑induced acute pancreatitis; 3 patients had altogether 7 relapses. The total number of cases was 33, which accounted for 4.71% of the total number of acute pancreatitis cases in the examined period. There was a failure in diet in 30.3% and a history of regular alcohol abuse in 57.6% of the cases. A history of diabetes mellitus was present in 38.1%, and gallstones in 9.1% of the cases. Lactescent serum was described on admission in 27.3%. Mean triglyceride level was 47.24 mmol/l (≈4181 mg/dl; 12.4-103.8 mmol/l). Amylase level was elevated to three times the normal in 54.5%, and that of lipase to three times the normal in 58.8%. Necrotizing acute pancreatitis was diagnosed in 7 patients (26.9%), and pseudocyst in 8 patients (30.7%). Administration of insulin, heparin, plasmapheresis and fibrates lowered the triglyceride to 3.71 mmol/l (≈328 mg/dl).

CONCLUSION: The clinical course of acute pancreatitis with hypertriglyceridemia does not differ from acute pancreatitis of other causes. Interestingly, levels of serum pancreatic enzymes may be normal or only minimally elevated. Insulin, heparin, plasmapheresis and fibrates effectively reduce lipid levels and relieve symptoms. A low triglyceride level is necessary to prevent relapses.

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