Clustering of Hypoglycemia Events in Patients With Hyperinsulinism: Extension of the Digital Phenotype Through Retrospective Data Analysis

Chris Worth, Simon Harper, Maria Salomon-Estebanez, Elaine O'Shea, Paul W Nutter, Mark J Dunne, Indraneel Banerjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hyperinsulinism (HI) due to excess and dysregulated insulin secretion is the most common cause of severe and recurrent hypoglycemia in childhood. High cerebral glucose use in the early hours results in a high risk of hypoglycemia in people with diabetes and carries a significant risk of brain injury. Prevention of hypoglycemia is the cornerstone of the management of HI, but the risk of hypoglycemia at night or the timing of hypoglycemia in children with HI has not been studied; thus, the digital phenotype remains incomplete and management suboptimal.

This study aims to quantify the timing of hypoglycemia in patients with HI to describe glycemic variability and to extend the digital phenotype. This will facilitate future work using computational modeling to enable behavior change and reduce exposure of patients with HI to injurious hypoglycemic events.

Patients underwent continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) with a Dexcom G4 or G6 CGM device as part of their clinical assessment for either HI (N=23) or idiopathic ketotic hypoglycemia (IKH; N=24). The CGM data were analyzed for temporal trends. Hypoglycemia was defined as glucose levels <3.5 mmol/L.

A total of 449 hypoglycemic events totaling 15,610 minutes were captured over 237 days from 47 patients (29 males; mean age 70 months, SD 53). The mean length of hypoglycemic events was 35 minutes. There was a clear tendency for hypoglycemia in the early hours (3-7 AM), particularly for patients with HI older than 10 months who experienced hypoglycemia 7.6% (1480/19,370 minutes) of time in this period compared with 2.6% (2405/92,840 minutes) of time outside this period (P<.001). This tendency was less pronounced in patients with HI who were younger than 10 months, patients with a negative genetic test result, and patients with IKH. Despite real-time CGM, there were 42 hypoglycemic events from 13 separate patients with HI lasting >30 minutes.

This is the first study to have taken the first step in extending the digital phenotype of HI by describing the glycemic trends and identifying the timing of hypoglycemia measured by CGM. We have identified the early hours as a time of high hypoglycemia risk for patients with HI and demonstrated that simple provision of CGM data to patients is not sufficient to eliminate hypoglycemia. Future work in HI should concentrate on the early hours as a period of high risk for hypoglycemia and must target personalized hypoglycemia predictions. Focus must move to the human-computer interaction as an aspect of the digital phenotype that is susceptible to change rather than simple mathematical modeling to produce small improvements in hypoglycemia prediction accuracy.
Original languageUndefined
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2021

Cite this