Therapeutic Plasmapheresis in Primary Presentation of Diabetes Mellitus With Diabetic Ketoacidosis, Hypertriglyceridemia and Acute Pancreatitis

Sherleen Gandham, Farhanah Yousaf, Yin Win, Sheng Kuo, Chaim Charytan, Bruce Spinowitz, Marilyn Galler


Severe hypertriglyceridemia (SHTG)-induced acute pancreatitis has been well described. Currently accepted therapeutic options are limited. We report a case of acute pancreatitis associated with hypertriglyceridemia and diabetic ketoacidosis that was safely and effectively managed with plasmapheresis. A 38-year-old female with history of gestational diabetes presented with acute onset of nausea and abdominal pain. She denied alcohol use and was on oral contraceptive pills. On physical exam, she was afebrile, normotensive, and tachycardic with mild abdominal distension and diffuse tenderness. Diagnostic tests revealed a serum glucose of 414 mg/dL, triglycerides > 816 mg/dL, amylase of 106 U/L, lipase of 272 U/L, anion gap of 23, BUN of 13 mg/dL, creatinine of 0.3 mg/dL, sodium of 120 mmol/L, HCO3 of 14 mmol/L, and positive urine ketones. Computed tomography (CT) findings were consistent with severe acute pancreatitis. The patient was managed conservatively on day 1. Due to persistence of symptoms, plasma exchange using NxStage plasmafilter was performed on day 2 and day 3, which resulted in significant reduction of the triglyceride level and resolution of abdominal pain. Patient was discharged home with gemfibrozil and glyburide as maintenance therapy. The exact mechanism of hypertriglyceridemia-induced pancreatitis is not clear. It has been postulated that hyperviscosity of blood due to lipid particles causes ischemia in the pancreas, releasing inflammatory mediators and leading to pancreatic necrosis and inflammation. The advantage of plasmapheresis over conservative management is the removal of lipid particles in a relatively short period of time and clearance of triglyceridemia-associated pro-inflammatory agents.

World J Nephrol Urol. 2014;3(4):162-166


Therapeutic plasmapheresis; Acute pancreatitis; Hypertriglyceridemia-induced pancreatitis; Severe hypertriglyceridemia-associated pancreatitis; Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic ketoacidosis; Hypertriglyceridemia

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