Site Map

Chylomicronemia syndrome

Familial lipoprotein lipase deficiency; Familial hyperchylomicronemia syndrome, Type I hyperlipidemia

Chylomicronemia syndrome is a disorder in which the body does not break down fats (lipids) correctly. This causes fat particles called chylomicrons to build up in the blood. The disorder is passed down through families.

Images

Hepatomegaly
Xanthoma on the knee

Causes

Chylomicronemia syndrome can occur due to a rare genetic disorder in which a protein (enzyme) called lipoprotein lipase (LpL) is broken or missing. It can also be caused by the absence of second factor called apo C-II, which activates LpL. LpL is normally found in fat and muscle. It helps break down certain lipids. When LpL is missing or broken, fat particles called chylomicrons build up in the blood. This buildup is called chylomicronemia.

Defects in apolipoprotein CII and apolipoprotein AV can cause the syndrome as well. It is more likely to occur when people who are predisposed to have high triglycerides (such as those who have familial combined hyperlipidemia or familial hypertriglyceridemia) develop diabetes, obesity or are exposed to certain medicines.

Symptoms

Symptoms may start in infancy and include:

Exams and Tests

A physical exam and tests may show:

A creamy layer will appear when blood spins in a laboratory machine. This layer is due to chylomicrons in the blood.

The triglyceride level is extremely high.

Treatment

A fat-free, alcohol-free diet is required. You may need to stop taking certain medicines that can make symptoms worse. Do not stop taking any medicine without first talking to your health care provider. Conditions such as dehydration and diabetes can make symptoms worse. If diagnosed, these conditions need to be treated and controlled.

Outlook (Prognosis)

A fat-free diet can reduce symptoms dramatically.

Possible Complications

When untreated, the excess chylomicrons may lead to bouts of pancreatitis. This condition can be very painful and even life threatening.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Seek medical care right away if you have abdominal pain or other warning signs of pancreatitis.

Call your provider if you have a personal or family history of high triglyceride levels.

Prevention

There is no way to prevent someone from inheriting this syndrome.

Related Information

Metabolism

References

Genest J, Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Zipes DP, Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Tomaselli GF, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 48.

Robinson JG. Disorders of lipid metabolism. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 195.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 4/30/2020  

Reviewed By: Thomas S. Metkus, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2021 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.