Intravenous fat emulsions and the pancreas: a review.

A. B. Leibowitz, P. O'Sullivan, T. J. Iberti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


There is conflicting evidence of the effect of intravenous fat emulsions on pancreatic secretion. Intralipid is a safe component of intravenous nutritional support in patients with pancreatic fistulas, though it may minimally increase the volume, as well as the bicarbonate and amylase concentrations, of the output. Intravenous fat emulsions may rarely cause pancreatitis; this may be more likely in patients with Crohn's disease, given that three of the four reported cases occurred in patients with Crohn's disease. It is unclear whether hypertriglyceridemia secondary to the intravenous fat emulsion is a prerequisite for this complication to occur. Intravenous fat emulsions appear to be a safe component of intravenous nutritional support for the patient with pancreatitis, based on multiple studies proving their safety in a total of nearly 100 patients. It seems prudent to avoid hypertriglyceridemia secondary to intravenous fat emulsions, as this alone is a cause of pancreatitis, albeit uncommon, in patients with abnormalities of triglyceride metabolism. However, hypertriglyceridemia resulting from parenteral nutrition may be caused by glucose intolerance and not intravenous fat emulsion administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-42
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Global Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992


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