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MINERVA PEDIATRICA

A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
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Minerva Pediatrica 2011 February;63(1):67-71

language: English

Dumping syndrome: an unusual cause of severe hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia in neurologically impaired children with gastrostomy

Bizzarri C. 1, Cervoni M. 2, Crea F. 1, Cutrera R. 2, Schiavino A. 2, Schiaffini R. 1, Cappa M. 1

1 Unit of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Pediatric Medicine, Rome, Italy;
2 Unit of Bronchopneumology, Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital – IRCCS, Rome, Italy


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This paper describes severe hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia during bolus enteral feeding in two neurologically impaired children. Both children were affected by dysphagia with swallowing difficulties; caloric intake was inadequate. For these reasons, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy had been positioned during the first months of life. In one patient due to persisting vomiting, after a few months, a gastrojejunal tube (PEG-J) was inserted. Hypoglycemia was revealed by routine blood tests, without evidence of specific symptoms. Continuous subcutaneous glucose monitoring showed wide glucose excursions, ranging from hypoglycemia to hyperglycemia. Extremely high levels of insulin were detected at the time of hypoglycemia. A diagnosis of dumping syndrome (DS) was suspected in both children. In the child with PEG, the tip of the gastrostomy catheter was found to be lying in the bulbus duodeni. Once this had been pulled back, hypoglycemic episodes disappeared. The child with PEG-J needed continuous enteral feeding to reach a normal glucose balance. DS is a relatively common complication in children with gastrostomy, but extremely irregular glucose levels, ranging from hypoglycemia to hyperglycemia, and increased insulin secretion had not been previously demonstrated. The incidence of DS is probably underestimated in children receiving enteral feeding for neurological impairment. In these patients intensive monitoring of blood glucose levels should be performed to calibrate meals. Repeated underestimated hypoglycemic episodes could worsen neurological damage and cause a deterioration in clinical conditions.

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