What is Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas & How is it Treated?

What is Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas?

Nesidioblastosis of pancreas is a condition in which insulin in blood becomes high leading to abnormal tissue growth in pancreas. As insulin controls, blood glucose, with increased insulin, the level of glucose in blood decreases, hence this condition is also termed as hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia. There are many factors causing and affecting this condition. It is necessary to know the symptoms of nesidioblastosis of pancreas, its causes and treatment.

Nesidioblastosis of pancreas leads to abnormal functioning of major organs and is visible mostly in children and sometimes, even adults. Development of this condition occurs due to some risk factors which should be known. This disorder is also known by following names:

What is Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas?

  • Noninsulinoma Pancreatogenous Hypoglycemia Syndrome (NIPHS)
  • Congenital Islet Hyperplasia of Pancreas
  • Congenital Hyperinsulinism due to Nesidioblastosis

Function of Pancreas

Pancreas is an important organ which is a part of digestive tract and is divided into two parts, namely exocrine pancreas and endocrine pancreas. Function of exocrine gland is to produce the digestive enzymes whereas, endocrine pancreas, results in the production of hormones like insulin, somatostatin and glucagon. Out of these hormones, insulin and glucagon, help in controlling blood sugar level. Majority of pancreas organ is formed from exocrine gland that basically aids the process of digestion in human body thereby, leading to better metabolism to break down food substances which are hard to digest.

Pancreas is a large organ, which is divided into head, body and tail, and it is out of convenience that medical fraternity has stated this division. Growth of tumors is quite harmful for pancreas and needs to be studied carefully for proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas is such a growth in pancreas related to malfunctioning of insulin.

Causes of Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas

There are some major causes of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas but needs more research and clarity. Researchers have pointed out that some causes of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas may be due to mutations caused by genetic problems affecting the cells of pancreas. Two ways which lead to development of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas are genetic or acquired due to some uncontrolled factors.

Increase in the size of pancreas, which is often caused due to tumor growths, can cause damage to the organ. When insulin level increases in blood, it leads to hyperplasia which can establish grounds for development of cancerous growth in organ.

Some of the causes of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas may be associated with the following risk factors:

  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia types 1 and 2
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Children who have diabetic mothers
  • Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome.

Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas can be caused by the above factors but ensuring a healthy lifestyle can lead to lower chances of cancer development in pancreas.

Symptoms of Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas

Nesidioblastosis of pancreas symptoms are very much visible from frequent pain in abdomen and a back pain which may or may not be persistent. Fatigue can occur which can also be accompanied by headaches. Increasing hunger pangs and thirst with increased urination are some of the common symptoms of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas. Nausea and vomiting may also be present along with weight loss and weakness.

Hands and feet may become numb with constant body pain. Person suffering from Nesidioblastosis experiences an unexplainable weight loss which can be a cause of trouble. The other symptoms of Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas include low glucose level in blood which can lead to a confused state of mind leading to many lifestyle related problems. Eyesight may also become weak and one may feel dizzy and confused, blurring of vision and this condition can also lead to loss of consciousness.

If these symptoms reach beyond a level, person may feel quite dizzy which can even lead to severe brain damage.

Diagnosis of Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas

Diagnosis of Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas is done with blood tests having tumor markers and insulin, amylase and glucose levels. Radiological studies include ultrasound of abdomen, endoscopy, CT scan and MRI scan of abdomen further help to detect the location, size and extent of the tumor.

Diagnostic procedure for Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas includes some of the latest techniques which includes following:

  • Positron Emission Tomography Scan (PET)
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC)
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP)
  • Invasive diagnostic procedures include laparoscopy, laparotomy, and tissue biopsy
  • Tissue diagnosis can be done through Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy and Core biopsy of pancreatic tumor
  • Open biopsy of pancreatic tumor.

How is Nesidioblastosis of Pancreas Treated?

Treatment of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas is mainly based on the underlying causes and severity of the condition. This condition may be normal in infants and only in few cases, treatment becomes a must. Some treatments of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas include medications, surgery, and routine checkups to prevent any kind of cancerous growth in the organ.

Surgical treatment of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas includes partial removal of pancreas, when the liver get enlarged thus indicating initial stage of cancerous growth. When hyperplasia is diffused, pancreas may be completely removed as a part of treatment of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas, to prevent further growth of tumor. If treatment is delayed, the condition can be fatal, as the tumor can grow and spread to other areas, treatment of which may not be possible. However, in most cases, surgery has shown good results in the treatment of Nesidioblastosis of pancreas.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 6, 2017

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