Hypoglycemia after gastric bypass surgery: Current concepts and controversies

Marzieh Salehi, Adrian Vella, Tracey McLaughlin, Mary Elizabeth Patti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Context: Hypoglycemia, occurring after bariatric and other forms of upper gastrointestinal surgery, is increasingly encountered by clinical endocrinologists. The true frequency of this condition remains uncertain, due, in part, to differences in the diagnostic criteria and in the affected populations, as well as relative lack of patient and physician awareness and understanding of this condition. Postbariatric hypoglycemia can be severe and disabling for some patients, with neuroglycopenia (altered cognition, seizures, and loss of consciousness) leading to falls, motor vehicle accidents, and job and income loss. Moreover, repeated episodes of hypoglycemia can result in hypoglycemia unawareness, further impairing safety and requiring the assistance of others to treat hypoglycemia. Objective: In this review, we summarize and integrate data from studies of patients affected by hypoglycemia after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery, obtained from PubMed searches (1990 to 2017) and reference searches of relevant retrieved articles. Whereas hypoglycemia can also be observed after sleeve gastrectomy and fundoplication, this review is focused on post-RYGB, given the greater body of published clinical studies at present. Outcome Measures: Data addressing specific aspects of diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment were reviewed by the authors; when not available, the authors have provided opinions based on clinical experience with this challenging condition. Conclusions: Hypoglycemia, occurring after gastric bypass surgery, is challenging for patients and physicians alike. This review provides a systematic approach to diagnosis and treatment based on the underlying pathophysiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2815-2826
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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