Severe hypertriglyceridemia-related acute pancreatitis

Ther Apher Dial. 2013 Apr;17(2):130-7. doi: 10.1111/1744-9987.12008. Epub 2013 Feb 28.


Acute pancreatitis is a potentially life-threatening complication of severe hypertriglyceridemia. In some cases, inborn errors of metabolism such as lipoprotein lipase deficiency, apoprotein C-II deficiency, and familial hypertriglyceridemia have been reported as causes of severe hypertriglyceridemia. More often, severe hypertriglyceridemia describes various clinical conditions characterized by high plasma levels of triglycerides (>1000 mg/dL), chylomicron remnants, or intermediate density lipoprotein like particles, and/or chylomicrons. International guidelines on the management of acute pancreatitis are currently available. Standard therapeutic measures are based on the use of lipid-lowering agents (fenofibrate, gemfibrozil, niacin, Ω-3 fatty acids), low molecular weight heparin, and insulin in diabetic patients. However, when standard medical therapies have failed, non-pharmacological approaches based upon the removal of triglycerides with therapeutic plasma exchange can also provide benefit to patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia and acute pancreatitis. Plasma exchange could be very helpful in reducing triglycerides levels during the acute phase of hyperlipidemic pancreatitis, and in the prevention of recurrence. The current evidence on management of acute pancreatitis and severe hypertriglyceridemia, focusing on symptoms, treatment and potential complications is reviewed herein.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / complications*
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / physiopathology
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / therapy
  • Pancreatitis / etiology*
  • Pancreatitis / physiopathology
  • Pancreatitis / therapy
  • Plasma Exchange / methods
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Triglycerides