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J Clin Lipidol. 2011 Jan-Feb;5(1):37-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2010.11.004. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Etiology and risk of lactescent plasma and severe hypertriglyceridemia.

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Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal and ECOGENE-21 Clinical Research Center, Chicoutimi Hospital, Pavillon des Augustines (5th Floor), 225, St-Vallier Street, Chicoutimi (QC), Canada, G7H 7P2.



Plasma lactescence is a clinical sign of severe hypertriglyceridemia (hyperTG; TG >10 mmol/L), which is likely to be observed more frequently in the next decades because of the growing prevalence of obesity and diabetes worldwide.


The objective of this study was to describe the clinical expression of plasma lactescence.


A total of 354 subjects with lactescent plasma hyperTG (mean TG ± SD: 17.1 ± 1.8 mmol/L) were classified according to blood appearance, etiology, and biochemical characteristics. The resulting phenotypes were compared with those of 364 normolipidemic controls (TG ≤2 mmol/L) and 487 clear plasma hyperTG subjects (5 < TG ≤9 mmol/L). The association of lactescent plasma with clinical covariates (obesity, coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, glucose intolerance, pancreatitis, and response to TG-lowering drugs) was performed by the use of multiple regression models.


The risk of pancreatitis increased as a function of the plasma creamy white collar and was the greatest among nonobese individuals with early-onset lactescence not responding to current TG-lowering drugs (familial hyperchylomicronemia). Patients with lactescent plasma and yellowish palmar xanthomas (dysbetalipoproteinemia) responded significantly better to fibrates than the other severe hyperTG phenotypes but were at greater risk of peripheral atherosclerosis. Overweight and obese patients with a creamy supernatant and a cloudy, cream of tomato, infranatant caused by hyper apolipoprotein B showed the most deleterious cardiometabolic risk profile, followed by the severe hyperTG-normal apolipoprotein B phenotype, the most frequent cause of lactescent plasma.


Lactescent plasma hyperTG represents a clinically heterogeneous group of high-risk patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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