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Diagnosis of Pancreatitis Masked by Hyperlipemia

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Grant support: in part by grants AM-01392 and AM-3014, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Andrew L. Warshaw, M.D., Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114.

Boston, Massachusetts

Ann Intern Med. 1975;82(6):795-798. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-82-6-795
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It is often difficult to confirm a diagnosis of acute pancreatitis in the presence of hyperlipemic serum because the serum amylase and lipase and the urinary amylase are frequently normal. We were able to substantiate the diagnosis of pancreatitis in seven patients with hypertriglyceridemia (> 1200 mg/100 ml) by the use of the simple amylase/creatinine clearance ratio and by the serial dilution of hyperlipemic serum. The amylase/creatinine clearance ratio in the hyperlipemic pancreatitis patients (10.0%) was significantly (P > 0.001) higher than in normal patients (3.1%) and essentially the same as in nonlipemic pancreatitis patients (9.2%). The calculated serum amylase activity after serial dilution of the serum showed up to a tenfold increase in hyperlipemic pancreatitis, with no significant increase in normal controls, hyperlipemic controls, and nonlipemic pancreatitis.





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