Case studies

Extreme hypertriglyceridaemia: a tale of two patients

Leon A Simons



The phenotype of extreme hypertriglyceridaemia may be associated with the onset of acute pancreatitis, patients may require differing long-term management.

Key Points

  • Extreme hypertriglyceridaemia may be associated with and even cause acute pancreatitis.
  • Extreme hypertriglyceridaemia generally has a genetic basis but with possible exacerbation by factors such as diabetes, alcohol consumption, obesity, nephrosis, hypothyroidism, exogenous oestrogen or other drugs.
  • Although there may be other causes of acute pancreatitis present, one goal of treatment is to achieve and maintain triglyceride levels well below 10mmol/L.
  • Long-term management of extreme hypertriglyceridaemia generally requires lipid-lowering drugs and/or attention to exacerbating factors.