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Endocrinol Diabetes Metab Case Rep. 2017 Apr 6;2017. pii: 16-0145. doi: 10.1530/EDM-16-0145. eCollection 2017.

Endoscopic ultrasound-guided ethanol ablation therapy for pancreatic insulinoma: an unusual strategy.

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Departments of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
Departments of Gastroenterology, Coimbra Hospital and University Center, Coimbra, Portugal.



Insulinomas are the most frequent cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia. Although surgical enucleation is the standard treatment, a few other options are available to high-risk patients who are elderly or present with co-morbidities. We present a case report of an 89-year-old female patient who was admitted to the emergency department due to recurrent hypoglycaemia, especially during fasting. Laboratory work-up raised the suspicion of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia, and abdominal CT scan revealed a 12 mm nodular hypervascular lesion of the pancreatic body suggestive of neuroendocrine tumour. The patient was not considered a suitable candidate for surgery, and medical therapy with diazoxide was poorly tolerated. Endoscopic ultrasound-guided ethanol ablation therapy was performed and a total of 0.6 mL of 95% ethanol was injected into the lesion by a transgastric approach; no complications were reported after the procedure. At 5 months of follow-up, no episodes of hypoglycaemia were reported, no diazoxide therapy was necessary, and revaluation abdominal CT scan revealed a pancreatic nodular lesion with a size involution of about half of its original volume. The patient is regularly followed-up at the endocrinology clinic and shows a significant improvement in her wellbeing and quality of life.


Insulinomas are the most frequent cause of hyperinsulinaemic hypoglycaemia.Surgical enucleation is the standard treatment with a few other options available to high-risk patients.Endoscopic ultrasound-guided ethanol ablation therapy is one feasible option in high-risk patients with satisfactory clinical outcomes, significant positive impact on quality of life and low complication rates related to the procedure.

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