Seven children, with a mean (SD) age of 4.6 (2.1) years, who as infants (21 (7.5) days) underwent near total (95-98%) pancreatectomy for persistent hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia of infancy (PHHI) were studied. At birth all the infants were macrosomic. Four infants had been born after a difficult labour, of whom three had moderate birth asphyxia and respiratory distress. All had normal thyroid function. After surgery transient hyperglycaemia was manifest in six of the children and required insulin treatment for 5.8 (3.8) weeks, and transient hypoglycaemia was encountered in one child and responded well to increased carbohydrate intake and diazoxide for three weeks. Six of the children rapidly crossed down their length and weight centiles during the first year after surgery. At the end of the first year these children were at or below the 5th centile of height and weight for their age and gender. After a period of 4.6 (2.1) years, their mean (SD) height score was -2.57 (0.5), growth velocity 3.9 (0.75) cm/year, and growth velocity SD score -2.1 (0.55)l these were significantly low and denoted significant growth retardation. The growth hormone peak responses to provocation with clonidine were normal (13.5 (2.8) micrograms/l). However, the circulating insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) concentrations were significantly decreased (79 (34) ng/ml). Three of the children developed diabetes at two and a half, five, and seven years after surgery, two others had impaired oral glucose tolerance and six out of the seven children had an impaired C peptide response to glucagon. Defective insulin secretion in these children might directly inhibit IGF-I synthesis in the liver. The body mass index of the pancreatectomised children was 14.9 (0.5) and was normal for age and gender; they had a normal 72 hour faecal fat content and normal serum albumin concentration. These data indicated grossly adequate exocrine pancreatic function. It appears that children requiring near total pancreatectomy for PHHI have normal developmental milestones but defective linear growth with impaired insulin secretion and low IGF-I production despite normal growth hormone response to provocation.
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