Antecedent Hypoglycemia Does Not Attenuate the Acceleration of Gastric Emptying by Hypoglycemia

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Acute hypoglycemia accelerates gastric emptying and increases cardiac contractility. However, antecedent hypoglycemia attenuates counterregulatory hormonal responses to subsequent hypoglycemia.


To determine the effect of antecedent hypoglycemia on gastric and cardiac responses to subsequent hypoglycemia in health.


A prospective, single-blind, randomized, crossover study (performed at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia).


Ten healthy young men 18 to 35 years of age were studied for 36 hours on two occasions.


Participants were randomly assigned to either antecedent hypoglycemia [three 45-minute periods of strict hypoglycemia (2.8 mmol/L] or control [three 45-minute periods of strict euglycemia (6 mmol/L)] during the initial 12-hour period. Participants were monitored overnight, and the following morning blood glucose was clamped at 2.8 mmol/L for 60 minutes and then at 6 mmol/L for 120 minutes. At least 6 weeks later participants returned for the alternative intervention. Gastric emptying and cardiac fractional shortening were measured with scintigraphy and two-dimensional echocardiography, respectively, on the morning of all 4 study days.


A single, acute episode of hypoglycemia accelerated gastric emptying (P = 0.01) and augmented fractional shortening (P < 0.01). Gastric emptying was unaffected by antecedent hypoglycemia (P = 0.74) whereas fractional shortening showed a trend to attenuation (P = 0.06). The adrenaline response was diminished (P < 0.05) by antecedent hypoglycemia


In health, the acceleration of gastric emptying during hypoglycemia is unaffected by antecedent hypoglycemia, whereas the increase in cardiac contractility may be attenuated.

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