Diagnosis and management of post-bariatric surgery hypoglycemia

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Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab


INTRODUCTION: While bariatric surgery remains the most effective treatment for obesity that allows substantial weight loss with improvement and possibly remission of obesity-associated comorbidities, some postoperative complications may occur. Managing physicians need to be familiar with the common problems to ensure timely and effective management. Of these complications, postoperative hypoglycemia is an increasingly recognized complication of bariatric surgery that remains underreported and underdiagnosed.

AREA COVERED: This article highlights the importance of identifying hypoglycemia in patients with a history of bariatric surgery, reviews pathophysiology and addresses available nutritional, pharmacological and surgical management options. Systemic evaluation including careful history taking, confirmation of hypoglycemia and biochemical assessment is essential to establish accurate diagnosis. Understanding the weight-dependent and weight-independent mechanisms of improved postoperative glycemic control can provide better insight into the causes of the exaggerated responses that lead to postoperative hypoglycemia.

EXPERT OPINION: Management of post-operative hypoglycemia can be challenging and requires a multidisciplinary approach. While dietary modification is the mainstay of treatment for most patients, some patients may benefit from pharmacotherapy (e.g. GLP-1 receptor antagonist); Surgery (e.g. reversal of gastric bypass) is reserved for unresponsive severe cases. Additional research is needed to understand the underlying pathophysiology with a primary aim in optimizing diagnostics and treatment options.

Medical Subject Headings

Humans; Bariatric Surgery; Hypoglycemia; Obesity; Gastric Bypass; Treatment Outcome

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