Management of severe hypertriglyceridemia in the hospital: A review

Eric W Schaefer*, Alicia Leung Rauh, Jelena Kravarusic, Neil J Stone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

For hospitalists, hypertriglyceridemia (HTG) is more than cardiovascular risk. Severe HTG occurs when serum triglycerides rise above 1000 mg/dL, and it carries a risk of abdominal pain and pancreatitis. The etiology of severe HTG is usually a combination of genetic and secondary factors. A detailed history with attention to family history, medications, and alcohol consumption can often lead to the cause. Physical examination findings may stretch across multiple organ systems. Patients with severe HTG should be admitted to the hospital for aggressive medical therapy if they develop symptoms such as abdominal pain or pancreatitis. Asymptomatic patients with severe HTG who have significant short-term risk for developing symptoms require urgent consultation that may lead to a brief hospitalization to address exacerbating factors. Treatment of severe HTG includes a combination of pharmacologic agents and a restriction on dietary triglyceride intake. If oral medications fail to adequately lower triglyceride levels, intravenous insulin and in rare cases therapeutic plasma exchange may be required. To prevent recurrent severe HTG, the patient should be counseled about adherence to long-term medications and lifestyle changes. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2011.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-438
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hospital Medicine
Volume7
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2012

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Fundamentals and skills
  • Health Policy
  • Care Planning
  • Assessment and Diagnosis

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