Hyperlipemia has been recognized with increasing frequency in patients with acute pancreatitis. The significance of this association is unknown. Twenty-two such patients were electively readmitted to a metabolic ward for study of their lipid metabolism during a quiescent period. Persistent fasting hypertriglyceridemia was found in 16 and abnormal lipoprotein electrophoretic patterns in 17. In addition, response to a lipid load was abnormal; in 20 of the 22 patients triglyceride levels rose over 500 mg/100 ml, and in 10 over 1,000 mg/100 ml. It is concluded that the lipid abnormalities detected during the acute attack of pancreatitis were not secondary but persisted long after the patient had recovered. Such underlying lipid abnormalities may play an intermediary role in the pathogenesis of pancreatitis.
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