Background: The level of hypertriglyceridaemia (HTG) at which the risk of acute pancreatitis (AP) increases and the impact of HTG on AP attributable to other aetiologies remains unclear. Methods: We compared clinical outcomes of patients admitted within 48 h of the onset of abdominal pain from a first episode of AP and admission serum triglyceride levels of either <5.65 mmol/l (<500 mg/dl) or ≥5.65 to <11.3 mmol/l (moderate HTG) or ≥11.3 mmol/l (≥1000 mg/dl, severe HTG). Results: Among a cohort of 1,233 patients with AP there were significant progressive increases in all major deleterious clinical outcomes including mortality (all Ptrend < 0.05) that were directly dependent on admission triglyceride levels. Outcomes were improved by earlier presentation (<24 h compared to 24–48 h from abdominal pain onset). Patients with severe HTG and a concomitant aetiology (n = 68) had significantly more persistent organ failure, pancreatic necrosis and longer hospital stays (P < 0.05) than those with severe HTG alone (n = 206). Conclusions: There appears to be an association between HTG grade and the severity of AP. Severe HTG significantly increased the severity of AP, over AP attributable to other aetiologies. Moderate as well as severe HTG can be used as a criterion for the diagnosis of HTG-associated AP.
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