Is hyperlipasemia in critically ill patients of clinical importance? An observational CT study
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To assess morphological alterations of the pancreas by contrast-enhanced computed tomography (cCT) and subclinical cellular damage of the pancreas by measuring pancreatitis-associated protein (PAP) in critically ill patients without prior pancreatic disorder who presented with raised serum lipase levels.
Prospective, observational study
Mixed surgical/neurosurgical intensive care unit of a German university hospital.
One hundred and thirty consecutive critically ill patients without prior damage or disease of the pancreas and an expected length of stay of more than 5 days.
Daily serum lipase measurements and daily serum PAP measurements. Contrast-enhanced upper abdominal cCT study in patients with triple increase of serum lipase.
Measurements and results
Thirty-eight patients showed raised serum lipase levels and qualified for the cCT scan study. In 20 patients cCT scans were performed. Morphological alterations of the pancreas were found in 7 out these 20 patients while serum PAP levels were raised in all patients.
Hyperlipasemia is a common finding in critically ill patients without prior pancreatic disorder. While elevated serum PAP levels indicate pancreatic cellular stress morphological alterations of the pancreas are rare and of little clinical importance.
KeywordsPancreatitis Hyperlipasemia Pancreatitis-associated protein Intensive care unit Critical illness
The authors thank Anna Fiedler for reviewing the English.
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