New: Transoral Endocrine Surgery

About 250,000 thyroidectomies and parathyroidectomies are conducted yearly in the United States. The typical thyroid or parathyroid surgery is performed via the front of the neck. These operations are done mainly for thyroid enlargement, nodules, cancer, and parathyroid masses. Although conventional surgeries are effective and safe, they have one disadvantage in common: they leave an undesirable visible scar for many patients.

To avoid the neck scar, surgeons introduced the concept of transoral endocrine surgery (TES) in 2011. The first operation was performed in the United States, Apr 2016. Since then, more than 300 transoral operations have been conducted in the U.S. alone. The main surgical route was achieved via the upper lip, otherwise called the “endoscopic vestibular approach.”

To date, the reported experience has shown that the safety of TES is similar to the traditional operations for the following outcomes: recurrent laryngeal nerve injury, hypoparathyroidism, and rate of infections. Based on standard inclusion and exclusion criteria, authors have found that 56% of all patients undergoing thyroidectomy or parathyroidectomy are eligible for TES. 

The two most common conditions qualified for transoral endocrine surgery were thyroid nodules (76%) and parathyroid adenomas (58%). TES has the potential to be performed in the 100,000s of individuals annually. However, the authors’ findings need to be formally tested and validated before the mass application of the operation.


Hypoglycemia due to gastric bypass surgery

Obesity and its complications are common, yet on the rise. Subsequently, gastric bypass surgery is on the rise too. Severe hypoglycemia can be a long-term complication of bariatric surgery. The most common method to negate or reduce hypoglycemia is dietary modifications. Patients need to consume small meals of a low glycemic index frequently. Medical therapies with acarbose, diazoxide, and octreotide are often not useful.

Here authors describe the utility of calcium channel blockers (CCBs) in two patients. Difficult to treat hypoglycemia developed in 8 and 13 years after the bypass procedure. Standard approach did not work. Only the use of nifedipine and verapamil improved patient’s resistant hypoglycemia. The proposed rationale is that CCBs reduce or delay insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells.

Although more clinical studies are needed, it is essential to be aware of the potential benefits of CCBs. For some patients with refractory and devastating hypoglycemia, they could be the last resort. Additionally, physicians are already familiar with CCBs as they have been on the market for decades.


Sexual function after bariatric surgery

This meta-analysis shows that bariatric surgery significantly improves sexual function in men but that a more limited degree of improvement is achieved in women.

In obese male patients who underwent bariatric surgery, the levels of the sex hormones TT, FT, LH, FSH, and SHBG significantly increased, and the level of E2 decreased. In obese female patients, the levels of the sex hormones TT, FT, and E2 decreased, but the levels of LH, FSH, and SHBG increased.

Future studies should be performed to elucidate the mechanism of the improved sexual function in obese patients after bariatric surgery. 


New FDA approval: a more convenient test for adult growth hormone deficiency

FDA has approved the oral agent macrilen for evaluation of growth hormone deficiency in adults. Macrilen is a ghrelin agonist which leads to the provocative release of growth hormone by the anterior pituitary gland. The diagnostic procedure is safe, efficient and comparable with the gold standard isulin tolerance test (ITT). This is a meaningful advancement in the field of endocrinology.


​​​​​​​Precision is everything, even in acute MI

Among patients who had multivessel coronary artery disease and acute myocardial infarction with cardiogenic shock, the 30-day risk of a composite of death or severe renal failure leading to renal-replacement therapy was lower among those who initially underwent PCI of the culprit lesion only, than among those who underwent immediate multivessel PCI.


New Treatment for blood pressure: Baroreflex activation therapy (BAT)

Baroreflex activation therapy (BAT) is a new method to treat patients with advanced high blood pressure. It works by electrically stimulating the carotid sinus, leading to reduced sympathetic tone.

Impressively systolic BP dropped on average by 35 mmHg and diastolic BP by 17 mmHg. About 25% of patients reduced the number of anti-hypertensive medications by half. Full benefits were seen within the first 6 months of procedure, but more importantly results were maintained in 6 years.

I believe more research is needed to approve BAT for mainstream clinical use, given the procedural nature of treatment.


Aspiration therapy for obesity – a possible Intervention?

Aspiration therapy was implemented in 25 adults with average body mass index 40. BMI decreased to 32 in one year and 31 in two years. No electrolyte anomalies or major side effects were noted. Stomach was drained 20 min after each meal, 3 times a day. Adherence to procedure was 80% in 12 months and 60% in 24 months.

Could this be a future viable therapy for obesity?