The importance of high serum cholesterol, especially a high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, as a risk factor for coronary artery disease is well established. Likewise, efficacy for decreasing risk for coronary artery disease by LDL-lowering therapy has recently been documented through clinical trials. However, many high-risk patients manifest elevated serum triglyceride levels, and the role of hypertriglyceridemia in causation of coronary artery disease remains to be elucidated. Nonetheless, there is growing evidence that hypertriglyceridemia is a marker for increased risk for coronary artery disease; in fact, it can serve as a marker for several atherogenic factors. These factors include increased concentrations of atherogenic triglyceride-rich lipoproteins; the atherogenic lipoprotein phenotype, or lipid triad; and the metabolic syndrome. The lipid triad consists of elevated serum triglycerides, small LDL particles, and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. The metabolic syndrome includes the coexistence of the lipid triad, elevated blood pressure, insulin resistance (plus glucose intolerance), and a prothrombotic state. Many previous studies indicate that hypertriglyceridemia is strongly associated with all of these atherogenic factors. The clinical approach to treatment of patients with hypertriglyceridemia thus requires a broad-based strategy that includes reduction of atherogenic triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, reversal of the lipid triad, and favorable modification of the metabolic syndrome. The development of therapeutic regimens to effect these changes poses a challenge for future research on the problem of hypertriglyceridemia.