A prospective cohort study on risk of acute pancreatitis related to serum triglycerides, cholesterol and fasting glucose

Pancreatology. Jul-Aug 2012;12(4):317-24. doi: 10.1016/j.pan.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 May 10.


Background/objectives: To investigate risk for acute pancreatitis related to moderately elevated triglycerides, cholesterol and fasting glucose.

Methods: This was a prospective cohort study in Malmö, Sweden of 33,346 subjects investigated 1974-1992 and followed until December 31, 2006. Baseline investigation included a self-administered questionnaire and analysis of serum triglycerides, cholesterol and fasting glucose. Cases of acute pancreatitis (n = 277, median time since baseline investigation 15.6 years) were identified in diagnosis registries and validated retrospectively. Attacks were classified as obstructive or non obstructive (alcohol or non alcohol related). Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) for acute pancreatitis related to relevant risk factors, adjusting for age, sex, smoking habits and alcohol consumption.

Results: Triglycerides were associated with overall, non obstructive and non obstructive non alcohol related acute pancreatitis with adjusted HRs of 1.21 (95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07-1.36), 1.23 (95% CI, 1.06-2.43) and 1.34 (95% CI, 1.11-1.62) per 1 mmol/l increment, respectively. Corresponding HRs for forth versus first quartile of triglycerides were 1.55 (95% CI, 1.09-2.21), 1.60 (95% CI, 1.60-1.01-1.35) and 2.07 (95% CI, 1.13-3.79). Triglycerides were not associated with obstructive acute pancreatitis and there were no associations between glucose or cholesterol and the risk of acute pancreatitis.

Conclusions: We found an association between prediagnostic levels of triglycerides and risk for acute pancreatitis. This association was most pronounced in the non obstructive non alcohol related group. Our findings suggest that triglycerides may be a more important risk factor for acute pancreatitis than what has previously been estimated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis / blood*
  • Pancreatitis / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol