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Management of the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome in pregnancy

      Abstract

      OBJECTIVE: There is almost no information on the management of patients with functional pancreatic endocrine tumors such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome during pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to develop an approach for the management of such cases during pregnancy on the basis of experience with five recent cases. STUDY DESIGN: Five women with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome who had seven pregnancies were the subject of this study. Each patient had an initial evaluation to confirm the diagnosis and to establish gastrinoma location and for the presence or absence of multiple endocrine neoplasia type I. In patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome diagnosed before conception, various medical or surgical treatments were established before conception and were used to control acid secretion throughout the pregnancy. The presence of upper gastrointestinal symptoms during pregnancy, maternal and fetal complications, gender, and weight of the infant were determined in all cases. Acid control was determined in four of the five patients during six pregnancies. RESULTS: The interval between the onset of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and the subsequent pregnancy varied from 0.6 to 9.9 years (mean 6.9 ± 1.7 years). Zollinger-Ellison syndrome was unrecognized before pregnancy in two patients (40%); it was diagnosed between 0.2 and 2.4 years after the pregnancy. In three patients the time of diagnosis varied from 2.6 to 9 years before pregnancy. All patients had symptoms from gastric hypersecretion and elevated fasting serum gastrin levels that varied from 20% above normal to 37-fold above normal with mean of 2536 pg/ml (range 124 to 6970 pg/ml). Four of the five patients (80%) had positive secretin and calcium provocative tests. Two patients had multiple endocrine neoplasia type I. The five patients had seven pregnancies. Acid secretion was treated during pregnancy with antacids only (one patient), ranitidine alone (one patient), prior curative gastrinoma resection (one patient, two pregnancies), prior parietal cell vagotomy with incomplete tumor resection (one patient, two pregnancies), and prior parathyroidectomy and use of ranitidine in a patient with multiple endocrine neoplasia type I. In five pregnancies in three of the cases, no gastric antisecretory medications were needed during pregnancy. The mean acid secretion during pregnancy was 11.9 mEq/hr (range 0 to 42 mEq/hr). In the two cases with poor acid control and unrecognized Zollinger-Ellison syndrome mild fetal complications occurred. CONCLUSIONS: It is possible for patients with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome to have pregnancies that are not complicated by gastric acid hypersecretion. If the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is diagnosed before pregnancy, curative resection or resection with parietal cell vagotomy may obviate the need for gastric antisecretory drugs. If metastases are present or the diagnosis of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is made after conception, ranitidine in the lowest possible dose should be used to control acid secretion. If acid secretion in uncontrolled, the dose may be increased or omeprazole may be used. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1997;176:224-33.)

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