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Tomomi Nakao First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Ken Takeshima First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Hiroyuki Ariyasu First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Chiaki Kurimoto First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Shinsuke Uraki First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Shuhei Morita First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Yasushi Furukawa First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Hiroshi Iwakura First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Takashi Akamizu First Department of Internal Medicine, Wakayama Medical University, Wakayama City, Wakayama, Japan

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Summary

Thyroid storm (TS) is a life-threatening condition that may suffer thyrotoxic patients. Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) is a rescue approach for TS with acute hepatic failure, but it should be initiated with careful considerations. We present a 55-year-old male patient with untreated Graves’ disease who developed TS. Severe hyperthyroidism and refractory atrial fibrillation with congestive heart failure aggregated to multiple organ failure. The patient was recovered by intensive multimodal therapy, but we had difficulty in introducing TPE treatment considering the risk of exacerbation of congestive heart failure due to plasma volume overload. In addition, serum total bilirubin level was not elevated in the early phase to the level of indication for TPE. The clinical course of this patient instructed delayed elevation of bilirubin until the level of indication for TPE in some patients and also demonstrated the risk of exacerbation of congestive heart failure by TPE.

Learning points:

  • Our patient with thyroid storm could be diagnosed and treated promptly using Japan Thyroid Association guidelines for thyroid storm.

  • Delayed elevation of serum bilirubin levels could make the decision of introducing therapeutic plasma exchange difficult in cases of thyroid storm with acute hepatic failure.

  • The risk of worsening congestive heart failure should be considered carefully when performing therapeutic plasma exchange.

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Agnieszka Łebkowska Department of Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Anna Krentowska Department of Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Agnieszka Adamska Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Danuta Lipińska Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Beata Piasecka Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Otylia Kowal-Bielecka Department of Rheumatology and Internal Diseases, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland

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Maria Górska Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Robert K Semple Centre for Cardiovascular Science, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

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Irina Kowalska Department of Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases, Diabetology and Internal Medicine

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Summary

Type B insulin resistance syndrome (TBIR) is characterised by the rapid onset of severe insulin resistance due to circulating anti-insulin receptor antibodies (AIRAs). Widespread acanthosis nigricans is normally seen, and co-occurrence with other autoimmune diseases is common. We report a 27-year-old Caucasian man with psoriasis and connective tissue disease who presented with unexplained rapid weight loss, severe acanthosis nigricans, and hyperglycaemia punctuated by fasting hypoglycaemia. Severe insulin resistance was confirmed by hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamping, and immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated AIRAs, confirming TBIR. Treatment with corticosteroids, metformin and hydroxychloroquine allowed withdrawal of insulin therapy, with stabilisation of glycaemia and diminished signs of insulin resistance; however, morning fasting hypoglycaemic episodes persisted. Over three years of follow-up, metabolic control remained satisfactory on a regimen of metformin, hydroxychloroquine and methotrexate; however, psoriatic arthritis developed. This case illustrates TBIR as a rare but severe form of acquired insulin resistance and describes an effective multidisciplinary approach to treatment.

Learning points:

  • We describe an unusual case of type B insulin resistance syndrome (TBIR) in association with mixed connective tissue disease and psoriasis.

  • Clinical evidence of severe insulin resistance was corroborated by euglycaemic hyperinsulinaemic clamp, and anti-insulin receptor autoantibodies were confirmed by immunoprecipitation assay.

  • Treatment with metformin, hydroxychloroquine and methotrexate ameliorated extreme insulin resistance.

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Åke Sjöholm Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Internal Medicine, Gävle Hospital, Gävle, Sweden

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Maria João Pereira Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Thomas Nilsson Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Torbjörn Linde Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Petros Katsogiannos Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Jan Saaf Department of Internal Medicine, Västmanland Hospital Köping, Köping, Sweden

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Jan W Eriksson Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

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Summary

Type B insulin resistance syndrome (TBIRS) is a very rare autoimmune disorder with polyclonal autoantibodies against the insulin receptor, resulting in severe and refractory hyperglycemia. Described here is a patient who within a few months after the onset of autoimmune type 1 diabetes increased her insulin requirements more than 20-fold; despite this she had considerable difficulty maintaining a plasma glucose value of <40–60 mmol/L (720–1100 mg/dL). On suspicion of TBIRS, the patient was started on tapering dose of glucocorticoids to overcome the autoimmune insulin receptor blockade, resulting in an immediate and pronounced effect. Within days, insulin requirements decreased by 80–90% and plasma glucose stabilized around 7–8 mmol/L (126–144 mg/dL). The presence of antibodies to the insulin receptor was detected by immunoprecipitation and binding assays. After a 4-month remission on low maintenance dose prednisolone, the patient relapsed, which required repeated plasmaphereses and immune column treatments with temporarily remarkable effect. Mixed and transient results were seen with rituximab, mycophenolic acid and bortezomib, but the glycemic status remained suboptimal. Lack of compliance and recurrent infections may have contributed to this.

Learning points:

  • Type B insulin resistance syndrome (TBIRS) is a very rare autoimmune disorder with acquired polyclonal autoantibodies against the insulin receptor, resulting in severe and refractory hyperglycemia.

  • We describe here a young patient in whom, a few months after the onset of a regular autoimmune diabetes, insulin requirements in a short time increased more than 20-fold, but despite this, the plasma glucose level could be kept at <40–60 mmol/L only with considerable difficulty. Did this patient have TBIRS?

  • On suspicion of TBIRS, the patient was started on tapering glucocorticoids to overcome the autoimmune insulin receptor blockade, resulting in an immediate and pronounced effect; within days insulin requirements decreased by 80–90% and plasma glucose stabilized around 7–8 mmol/L.

  • The presence of antibodies to the insulin receptor was detected by immunoprecipitation and binding assays.

    After a 4-month remission on low maintenance dose prednisolone, the patient relapsed, which required repeated plasmaphereses with temporarily remarkable effect.

  • TBIRS should be considered in diabetic patients whose glycemia and/or insulin requirements are inexplicably and dramatically increased.

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