Spontaneous Hypoglycemia After Islet Autotransplantation for Chronic Pancreatitis

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Abstract

Context:

Spontaneous hypoglycemia has been reported in patients after total pancreatectomy (TP) and islet autotransplantation (IAT) with maintained insulin independence. Details surrounding these events have not been well described.

Objective:

The objective of the study was to determine the frequency and characteristics of spontaneous hypoglycemia in patients undergoing TP-IAT and/or to ascertain predictive or protective factors of its development.

Design:

This was an observational cohort study in 40 patients who underwent TP-IAT from August 2008 to May 2014, with a median follow-up of 34 months.

Setting:

The study was conducted at a single institution (Cleveland Clinic).

Patients:

Patients included recipients of TP-IAT.

Intervention:

The intervention included small, frequent meals in those patients who developed spontaneous hypoglycemia.

Main Outcome Measures:

Incidence of spontaneous hypoglycemia development, characteristics of the patients developing hypoglycemia, and their response to small, frequent meals were measured.

Results:

Six of 12 patients, who maintained insulin independence, developed spontaneous hypoglycemia. The episodes could be fasting, postprandial, and/or exercise associated, with the frequency ranging from two to three times daily to once every 1–2 weeks. All patients experienced at least one episode that required external assistance, glucagon administration, and/or emergent medical attention. Patients who developed hypoglycemia had a lower median age and tended to have a lower median islet equivalent/kg body weight but a higher median total islet equivalent, body mass index, and homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance score. All patients who received small, frequent meal intervention had improvement in severity and/or frequency of the hypoglycemic episodes.

Conclusions:

Spontaneous hypoglycemia is prevalent after TP-IAT. Although the underlying pathophysiology responsible for these hypoglycemia events remains to be elucidated, small, frequent meal intervention is helpful in ameliorating this condition.

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