King's College London

Research portal

Management of hypertriglyceridaemia-induced acute pancreatitis in pregnancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tejal Amin, Leona Poon, TG Teoh, Krishna Moorthy, Stephen Robinson, Nicola Neary, Jonathan Valabhji

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2014

King's Authors


Acute pancreatitis is a recognised rare complication in pregnancy. The reported incidence varies between 3 to 7 in 10,000 pregnancies and is higher in the third trimester. The commonest causes in pregnancy include gallstones, alcohol and hypertriglyceridaemia. Non-gallstone pancreatitis is associated with more complications and poorer outcome with hypertriglyceridaemia-induced acute pancreatitis having mortality rates ranging from 7.5-9.0% and 10.0-17.5% for mother and fetus, respectively.

Case History:
A 40-year-old para 4 woman, who presented with epigastric pain and vomiting at 15+4 weeks’ gestation, was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. Past medical history included Graves’ disease and hypertriglyceridaemia. Fenofibrate was discontinued immediately after discovery of the pregnancy. Initial investigations showed elevated amylase (475.0 u/L) and triglycerides (46.6 mmol/L). The patient was admitted to High Dependency Unit for supportive management with antibiotics, sliding scale and parenteral nutrition commenced on day 8. Imaging revealed an inflamed pancreas without evidence of biliary obstruction/gallstones hence confirming the diagnosis of hypertriglyceridaemia-induced acute pancreatitis. Laboratory tests gradually improved (triglyceride 5.2 mmol/L on day 17) but anaemia was diagnosed which required 2 units of blood transfusion. On day 18 ultrasound confirmed fetal demise (18+1 weeks) and a hysterotomy was performed as she had had 4 previous caesarean sections.

Management of acute pancreatitis in pregnancy requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Hypertriglyceridaemia-induced acute pancreatitis has poor outcomes when diagnosed in early pregnancy. Identifying those at risk pre-pregnancy and antenatally can allow close monitoring through pregnancy to optimise care.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454