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Hypertriglyceridemia-induced acute pancreatitis

Andres Gelrud, MD, MMSc
David C Whitcomb, MD, PhD
Section Editor
Lawrence S Friedman, MD
Deputy Editor
Shilpa Grover, MD, MPH, AGAF


Hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is the third most common cause of acute pancreatitis (AP) after alcohol and gallstones [1,2]. It is reported to cause 1 to 4 percent of all cases of AP and up to 56 percent of pancreatitis cases during pregnancy [1,3].

HTG is defined by fasting serum triglyceride level of >150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L). HTG is classified as mild (150 to 199 mg/dL 1.7 to 2.2 mmol/L), moderate (200 to 999 mg/dL, 2.3 to 11.2 mmol/L), severe HTG (1000 to 1999 mg/dL, 11.2 to 22.4 mmol/L), and very severe HTG (>2000 mg/dL, >22.4 mmol/L) [4].

HTG is considered a risk for pancreatitis when levels are >1000 mg/dL (11.2 mmol/L) [4]. Early clinical recognition of HTG-associated pancreatitis (HTGP) is extremely important to provide appropriate therapy and to prevent further episodes.

This topic review will focus on the etiology, clinical features, and treatment of acute HTGP. Long-term therapy of HTG with diet restrictions and lipid-lowering medications are discussed separately.

(See "Hypertriglyceridemia".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 20, 2015.
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