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When It Is More than Transient Neonatal Hypoglycemia: Hyperinsulinemia— A Case Study Challenge

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Persistent uncontrolled neonatal hypoglycemia may cause irreversible brain damage. Hyperinsulinemia is a rare cause of persistent hypoglycemia, diagnosed by excluding other etiologies. Inappropriately high fasting serum insulin levels with concurrent hypoglycemia confirm the diagnosis.

Initial interventions for hyperinsulinemia are conservative. The first line of therapy is administration of adequate intravenous (IV) glucose to maintain serum or whole blood glucose levels at or greater than 40 mg/dl. When enteral feedings are tolerated, schedules and caloric concentration are adjusted. Pharmacologic therapy is added to facilitate weaning from IV glucose. The drug of first choice is diazoxide. Octreotide is added if diazoxide therapy fails. Partial or complete pancreatectomy is the final treatment option.

Nursing care for infants with hyperinsulinemia must also focus on the support and education of families. Family education must be individualized and should cover feeding regimes, administration of medication, proper use of equipment, and care during illness.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2001

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