Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
August 2011, Volume 26 Number 4 , p 290 - 297
Nurse practitioners (NPs) often take a multidisciplinary approach when treating and educating patients. Collaboration with a registered dietitian is not uncommon when treating patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia (triglycerides [TGs] ¡Ý500 mg/dL). Patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia should be treated and managed to normalize TG levels (TG level <150 mg/dL). Treatment for severe hypertriglyceridemia is often 3-fold, including lifestyle changes, diet modification, and pharmacotherapy. Therapeutic lifestyle changes are generally the first step in lowering TG levels. Registered dietitians promote a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Evidence has been mounting to support consumption of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid to decrease TGs. When lifestyle and diet changes do not effectively decrease TGs, NPs will recommend pharmacological therapy as a next step. A viable pharmacological option includes prescription omega-3 (P-OM3) fatty acid ethyl esters. Each 4-g/d dose of P-OM3 provides 465 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 375 mg of docosahexaenoic acid. Clinical trials show that P-OM3 can safely and effectively decrease TGs by 45% in patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia. Nurse practitioners play an important role in the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia and in the education of patients about lifestyle and diet changes that can greatly impact patients' health.