Hypertriglyceridemic Pancreatitis: Presentation and Management : Official journal of the American College of Gastroenterology | ACG

Secondary Logo

Journal Logo


Hypertriglyceridemic Pancreatitis

Presentation and Management

Tsuang, Wayne MD1; Navaneethan, Udayakumar MD1; Ruiz, Luis MD2; Palascak, Joseph B. MD3; Gelrud, Andres MD, MMSc4

Author Information
American Journal of Gastroenterology 104(4):p 984-991, April 2009.



Hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is reported to cause 1-4% of acute pancreatitis (AP) episodes. HTG is also implicated in more than half of gestational pancreatitis cases. Disorders of lipoprotein metabolism are conventionally divided into primary (genetic) and secondary causes, including diabetes, hypothyroidism, and obesity. Serum triglyceride (TG) levels above 1,000 mg/dl are usually considered necessary to ascribe causation for AP. The mechanism for hypertriglyceridemic pancreatitis (HTGP) is postulated to involve hydrolysis of TG by pancreatic lipase and release of free fatty acids that induce free radical damage. Multiple small studies on HTGP management have evaluated the use of insulin, heparin, or both. Many series have also reported use of apheresis to reduce TG levels. Subsequent control of HTG with dietary restrictions, antihyperlipidemic agents, and even regular apheresis has been shown anecdotally in case series to prevent future episodes of AP. However, large multicenter studies are needed to optimize future management guidelines for patients with HTGP.

© The American College of Gastroenterology 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Full Text Access for Subscribers:

You can read the full text of this article if you:

Access through Ovid