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July 1959

Idiopathic Hyperlipemia: Special Reference to Abdominal and Coronary Symptoms

Author Affiliations

U. S. Army; Dr. Med., Nürnberg, Germany
U. S. Army Hospital, Nürnberg, Germany. Chief of Gastroenterology Section (Major Gailitis).

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;79(1):40-44. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320070044007

Idiopathic hyperlipemia represents the homozygous abnormal state. The basic metabolic defect in this condition is a retarded removal of ingested fat from the blood stream after normal absorption. The homozygous abnormal state is further complicated by hepatosplenomegaly; abdominal, coronary, and central nervous system crises, and, frequently, secondary xanthoma. Many patients believed to be "psychotic" proved to be subject to idiopathic hyperlipemia after thorough diagnostic screening. Furthermore, many patients seen in the emergency room because of an acute abdominal crisis, and subjected to a number of surgical procedures, often are helped as a result of a simple observation of "milky serum," which they exhibit during these acute episodes. These manifestations are believed to be due to an increase in neutral fats in particulate form, which impart a milky turbidity to the serum, known as lactescence. This milky appearance becomes evident if the lipid level reaches about 4,000 mg. %. There is also