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Obstet Med. 2015 Dec;8(4):158-67. doi: 10.1177/1753495X15594082. Epub 2015 Aug 21.

Severe gestational hypertriglyceridemia: A practical approach for clinicians.

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1
Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
2
Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

Severe gestational hypertriglyceridemia is a potentially life threatening and complex condition to manage, requiring attention to a delicate balance between maternal and fetal needs. During pregnancy, significant alterations to lipid homeostasis occur to ensure transfer of nutrients to the fetus. In women with an underlying genetic predisposition or a secondary exacerbating factor, severe gestational hypertriglyceridemia can arise, leading to devastating complications, including acute pancreatitis. Multidisciplinary care, implementation of a low-fat diet with nutritional support, and institution of a hierarchical therapeutic approach are all crucial to reduce maternal and fetal morbidity. To avoid maternal pancreatitis, close surveillance of triglycerides throughout pregnancy with elective hospitalization for refractory cases is recommended. Careful dietary planning is required to prevent neural and retinal complications from fetal essential fatty acid deficiency. Questions remain about the safety of fibrates and plasmapheresis in pregnancy as well as the optimal timing for induction and delivery of these women.

KEYWORDS:

High-risk pregnancy; complications; hypertriglyceridemia; maternal morbidity; maternal–fetal medicine; pancreatitis

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