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Open access

Sarah Y Qian, Matthew J L Hare, Alan Pham and Duncan J Topliss

Summary

Insulinomas are rare neuroendocrine tumours that classically present with fasting hypoglycaemia. This case report discusses an uncommon and challenging case of insulinoma soon after upper gastrointestinal surgery. A 63-year-old man presented with 6 months of post-prandial hypoglycaemia beginning after a laparoscopic revision of Toupet fundoplication. Hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia was confirmed during a spontaneous episode and in a mixed-meal test. Localisation studies including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) and gallium dotatate positron emission tomography (68Ga Dotatate PET) were consistent with a small insulinoma in the mid-body of the pancreas. The lesion was excised and histopathology was confirmed a localised well-differentiated neuroendocrine pancreatic neoplasm. There have been no significant episodes of hypoglycaemia since. This case highlights several key points. Insulinoma should be sought in proven post-prandial hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia – even in the absence of fasting hypoglycaemia. The use of nuclear imaging targeting somatostatin and GLP1 receptors has improved accuracy of localisation. Despite these advances, accurate surgical resection can remain challenging.

Learning points:

  • Hypoglycaemia is defined by Whipple’s triad and can be provoked by fasting or mixed-meal tests.

  • Although uncommon, insulinomas can present with post-prandial hypoglycaemia.

  • In hypoglycaemia following gastrointestinal surgery (i.e. bariatric surgery or less commonly Nissen fundoplication) dumping syndrome or non-insulinoma pancreatogenous hypoglycaemia syndrome (NIPHS) should be considered.

  • Improved imaging techniques including MRI, endoscopic ultrasound and functional nuclear medicine scans aid localisation of insulinomas.

  • Despite advances in imaging and surgical techniques, accurate resection of insulinomas remains challenging.

Open access

Peter Novodvorsky, Emma Walkinshaw, Waliur Rahman, Valerie Gordon, Karen Towse, Sarah Mitchell, Dinesh Selvarajah, Priya Madhuvrata and Alia Munir

Summary

Bariatric surgery is an effective therapy for obesity but is associated with long-term complications such as dumping syndromes and nutritional deficiencies. We report a case of a 26-year-old caucasian female, with history of morbid obesity and gestational diabetes (GDM), who became pregnant 4 months after Roux-en-Y bypass surgery. She developed GDM during subsequent pregnancy, which was initially managed with metformin and insulin. Nocturnal hypoglycaemia causing sleep disturbance and daytime somnolence occured at 19 weeks of pregnancy (19/40). Treatment with rapid-acting carbohydrates precipitated further hypoglycaemia. Laboratory investigations confirmed hypoglycaemia at 2.2 mmol/L with appropriately low insulin and C-peptide, intact HPA axis and negative IgG insulin antibodies. The patient was seen regularly by the bariatric dietetic team but concerns about compliance persisted. A FreeStyle Libre system was used from 21/40 enabling the patient a real-time feedback of changes in interstitial glucose following high or low GI index food intake. The patient declined a trial of acarbose but consented to an intraveneous dextrose infusion overnight resulting in improvement but not complete abolishment of nocturnal hypoglycaemia. Hypoglycaemias subsided at 34/40 and metformin and insulin had to be re-introduced due to high post-prandial blood glucose readings. An emergency C-section was indicated at 35 + 1/40 and a small-for-gestational-age female was delivered. There have been no further episodes of hypoglycaemia following delivery. This case illustrates challenges in the management of pregnancy following bariatric surgery. To our knowledge, this is the first use of FreeStyle Libre in dumping syndrome in pregnancy following bariatric surgery with troublesome nocturnal hypoglycaemia.

Learning points:

  • Bariatric surgery represents the most effective treatment modality in cases of severe obesity. With increasing prevalence of obesity, more people are likely to undergo bariatric procedures, many of which are women of childbearing age.

  • Fertility generally improves after bariatric surgery due to weight reduction, but pregnancy is not recommended for at least 12–24 months after surgery. If pregnancy occurs, there are currently little evidence-based guidelines available on how to manage complications such as dumping syndromes or gestational diabetes (GDM) in women with history of bariatric surgery.

  • Diagnosis of GDM relies on the use of a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The use of this test in pregnant women is not recommended due to its potential to precipitate dumping syndrome. Capillary glucose monitoring profiles or continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is being currently discussed as alternative testing modalities.

  • As the CGM technology becomes more available, including the recently introduced FreeStyle Libre Flash glucose monitoring system, more pregnant women, including those after bariatric surgery, will have access to this technology. We suggest urgent development of guidelines regarding the use of CGM and flash glucose monitoring tools in these circumstances and in the interim recommend careful consideration of their use on a case-to-case basis.

Open access

Akira Kurozumi, Yosuke Okada, Tadashi Arao, Yusuke Miyazaki, Maiko Yoshikawa, Keiichi Torimoto, Satoshi Kubo, Shingo Nakayamada and Yoshiya Tanaka

Summary

A randomized controlled study of rituximab demonstrated that the drug protects pancreatic function in patients with acute-onset type 1 diabetes mellitus (AOT1DM). However, the mechanism of this protective effect is poorly understood. We examined the effects of rituximab in two patients with AOT1DM in the honeymoon period and the mechanism of these effects. Case 1 was a 40-year-old man and Case 2 was a 45-year-old man, both diagnosed with AOT1DM. Various tests indicated intact capacity for endogenous insulin secretion and that they were in the honeymoon phase of AOT1DM. Treatment with rituximab protected against pancreatic β-cell damage and maintained somewhat the endogenous insulin secretion. In Case 2, HbA1c level was maintained below 6.5% up to 24 months after treatment. However, in Case 1, the patient showed a gradual increase in HbA1c level starting around 9 months but fell at 12 months to >9.0% and required an insulin dose about twice greater than that of Case 2. High spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) levels were recorded in the two patients before rituximab administration and after the treatment, the levels were further increased in Case 1, but decreased in Case 2. Both patients require continuous careful follow-up for glycemic control, insulin secretion capacity, and adverse reactions in the future. Although the clinical relevance of high Syk levels in AOT1DM patients remains unclear, the difference in the change in Syk level between the two patients may explain the different clinical courses.

Learning points

  • We described the pancreas-protective effect of rituximab in two patients with acute-onset type 1 diabetes mellitus in the honeymoon period and investigated the possible mechanism of action.

  • The present study demonstrated that treatment with rituximab maintained endogenous insulin secretion capacity for 2 years in the two patients.

  • The phosphorylated-spleen tyrosine kinase (p-Syk) data suggest that the differences in HbA1c level and the required insulin dose between the two patients could be due to reactivation or nonreactivation of β-cells.