Investigation and management of congenital hyperinsulinism

Gilbert, Clare
November 2009
British Journal of Nursing;11/26/2009, Vol. 18 Issue 21, p1306
Academic Journal
Insulin is a powerful hormone produced by the beta-cells in the pancreas. Its major function is to regulate blood glucose levels, facilitating the transport of glucose into the body's cells. Congenital hyperinsulinism is characterized by the presence of insulin that is inappropriately high for the concentration of blood glucose. Because high levels of insulin also switch off all alternative fuels for the brain to use, this condition can cause brain injury if not detected quickly. Nurses are in a unique position by the bedside to identify the symptoms and treat the hypoglycaemia through very simple nursing interventions, such as safe administration of glucose and frequent blood glucose monitoring. Congenital hyperinsulinism can be transient or persistent. Persistent congenital hyperinsulinism can be further divided into focal or diffuse disease. Focal congenital hyperinsulinism can now be cured, and the management of congenital hyperinsulinism has radically changed with the help of genetics and research. Now pancreatectomy surgery is only used as the last resort.


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