Thornton PS, Stanley CA, De Leon DD, Harris D, Haymond MW, Hussain K, Levitsky LL, Murad MH, Rozance PJ, Simmons RA, Sperling MA, Weinstein DA, White NH, Wolfsdorf JI; Pediatric Endocrine Society. Recommendations from the Pediatric Endocrine Society for Evaluation and Management of Persistent Hypoglycemia in Neonates, Infants, and Children. J Pediatr. 2015 Aug;167(2):238-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.03.057. Epub 2015 May 6. PubMed PMID: 25957977.
During the first 24-48 hours of life, as normal neonates transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life, their plasma glucose (PG) concentrations are typically lower than later in life.1, 2, 3 Published guidelines for screening at-risk newborns and managing low PG concentrations in neonates focus on the immediate neonatal period, but do not address the diagnosis and management of disorders causing recurrent and prolonged hypoglycemia.4, 5, 6 Distinguishing between transitional neonatal glucose regulation in normal newborns and hypoglycemia that persists or occurs for the first time beyond the first 3 days of life is important for prompt diagnosis and effective treatment to avoid serious consequences, including seizures and permanent brain injury.
Moreover, the evaluation and management of pediatric hypoglycemia differ in several respects from that in adults, for whom guidelines were recently published.7 First, persistent hypoglycemia most often results from a congenital or genetic defect in regulating secretion of insulin, deficiency of cortisol and/or growth hormone, or defects in the metabolism of glucose, glycogen, and fatty acids. Second, it may be difficult to identify and distinguish newborn infants with a persistent hypoglycemia disorder from those with transitional low glucose levels in the initial 48 hours of life, as detailed in the separate document on transitional neonatal hypoglycemia prepared by our committee.3 Third, the first few months of life are the most vulnerable period for developmental disability, which occurs in ∼25%-50% of children with congenital hyperinsulinism. Early recognition and treatment are crucial for preventing these sequelae.8, 9, 10
To address these deficiencies, the Pediatric Endocrine Society convened an expert panel of pediatric endocrinologists and neonatologists to develop guidelines for managing hypoglycemia in neonates, infants, and children, but excluding children with diabetes. The goals of these guidelines are to help physicians recognize persistent hypoglycemia disorders, guide their expeditious diagnosis and effective treatment, and prevent brain damage in at-risk babies.
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