Kuwaiti child is given new lease of life after receiving non-surgical treatment alternative for childhood hypoglycaemia

Dr Pratik Shah

Young Kuwaiti child, Saad, has been given a new lease of life after being treated for a severe form of childhood hypoglycaemia using an alternative non-surgical procedure at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London (GOSH).

When Saad was just two months old, his mother noticed his legs and arms were moving erratically and his eyes rolling to the back of his head.  Saad’s mother instantly knew that something was wrong. Although tests showed he had low blood sugar without diabetes, Saad’s medical diagnosis was still uncertain and he spent a further two months in hospital in Kuwait. Saad was then referred to a specialist in the UK, Dr Shah, who specializes in Paediatric Endocrinology.

After visiting Dr Shah, Saad was diagnosed with Congenital Hyperinsulinism (CHI), a very complex condition that causes severe hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in the neonatal, infancy and childhood period. 

Discussing the severity of the condition, Dr Shah said, “Hypoglycaemia, due to CHI, is a relatively rare but serious condition occurring soon after birth. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia can include floppiness, shakiness, poor feeding and sleepiness, all of which are due to the low blood glucose levels. Seizures (fits or convulsions) can also occur, again due to low blood glucose levels. If the child’s blood glucose level is not corrected, it can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures (convulsions), potential brain injury and very rarely death."

From May to September 2017, Saad stayed as an inpatient at GOSH. Saad underwent a PET scan which confirmed he has a diffuse form of CHI which means if he doesn’t respond to standard medical treatment to stop insulin production then would likely need a major operation to remove 95 percent of the pancreas (near-total pancreatectomy).  However, instead of undergoing a near-total pancreatectomy, an invasive operation with potential long-life complications, Dr Shah suggested newer forms of medication which aim to stabilise blood glucose levels.

"After discussing various management options with the family, they were keen to try injections before proceeding with a near-total pancreatectomy. This medication, which is given once every 4 weeks, has allowed him to keep his blood glucose stable on bolus feeds with significant improvement in quality of life as parents give one injection every 4 weeks instead of 4 injections a day,” adds Dr Shah.

Saad, who has now had his care moved back to Kuwait, will need regular monitoring in terms of his blood glucose as well as for side effects of the medication. Some cases become milder over the time and children may eventually come off medications.

On the care Saad received in London, Saad’s mother commented that, “Dr Shah was the perfect doctor and gave us all the information we needed. He listens to the family and completely understood my son’s needs. Saad enjoyed his time on the Bumblebee ward and the nurses at GOSH were also very caring with a personal touch.”

Saad is currently doing well and will return to GOSH in six months’ time for a routine check-up.

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