Genetic characteristics of patients with congenital hyperinsulinism

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Purpose of review

Congenital hyperinsulinism is the most common cause of persistent hypoglycemia in infants and children. Early and appropriate recognition and treatment of hypoglycemia is vital to minimize neurocognitive impairment.

Recent findings

There are at least 11 known monogenic forms of hyperinsulinism and several associated syndromes. Molecular diagnosis allows for prediction of the effectiveness of diazoxide and the likelihood of focal hyperinsulinism. Inactivating mutations in the genes encoding the ATP-sensitive potassium channel (KATP hyperinsulinism) account for 60% of all identifiable mutations, including 85% of diazoxide-unresponsive cases. Syndromes or disorders associated with hyperinsulinism include Beckwith−Wiedemann syndrome, Kabuki syndrome, Turner syndrome, and congenital disorders of glycosylation. Although focal hyperinsulinism can be cured by resection of the lesion, therapeutic options for nonfocal hyperinsulinism remain limited and include diazoxide, octreotide, long-acting somatostatin analogs, and near-total pancreatectomy. Although sirolimus has been reported to improve glycemic control in infants with diazoxide-unresponsive hyperinsulinism, the extent of improvement has been limited, and significant adverse events have been reported.


Identification of the cause of congenital hyperinsulinism helps guide management decisions. Use of therapies with limited benefit and significant potential risks should be avoided.

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