1. Lindberg, Deborah A. MBA, BSN, RN-BC


Pancreatitis is a condition characterized by painful inflammation of the pancreas and can be either chronic or acute. The most common causes of acute pancreatitis (AP) in the United States are gallstones and excessive alcohol consumption. In addition, significantly elevated serum triglyceride levels can precipitate episodes of AP. Genetic defects are associated with severe elevations in serum triglyceride levels, whereas poorly controlled diabetes, obesity, and high-fat diets can contribute to elevated triglyceride levels substantial enough to provoke pancreatitis (secondary hypertriglyceridemia). Treatment of hypertriglyceridemia-induced AP consists of immediate reduction in serum triglyceride levels and long-term medications and lifestyle modifications. Nurses are instrumental in patient education about lifelong treatment strategies.