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Physician referrals to our specialty services can be made by phone or by filling out our specialty services form.
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Hyperinsulinism referrals

Patient receiving checkupCook Children's

Hyperinsulinism Center

Learning that one of world’s most respected Hyperinsulinism Centers is right here at Cook Children’s, can be a life-saving moment.

Hyperinsulinism (HI) is a rare, and often severe, genetic disorder. It is the most common cause of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in infants more than 3 days old, as well as children. If not treated, these children are at risk for seizures or even permanent brain damage. Finding the right care is very important in preventing irreversible damage and improving quality of life.

Cook Children's Hyperinsulinism Center is one of only two programs in the nation and has a distinguished international reputation for providing extraordinary care and achieving positive outcomes. See how we are helping kids with even the most complicated cases of hyperinsulinism discover more of what childhood should be: simple. See JC's journey here.

New Surgery Offers Hope for Babies Born With Rare DisorderIn the news
New Surgery Offers Hope for Babies Born With Rare Disorder

A new surgery at Cook Children's Medical Center is offering a cure for babies born with a rare disorder of the pancreas.

North Texas Hospital's New $6.5 Million Jet Is A Mobile ICUIn the news
North Texas Hospital's New $6.5 Million Jet Is A Mobile ICU

Child with hyperinsulinism rushed from Houston to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth for treatment.

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Choosing Cook Children's Hyperinsulinism Center

Cook Children’s offers one of only 2 full-service HI centers in the U.S., and the only one in the south. This is important because it means that the families who come to Cook Children’s can trust the expertise of our staff.

Dr. Paul Thornton Medical Director Cook Children's Hyperinsulinism Center"We go above and beyond by providing a huge amount of knowledge and support to families."
- Paul Thornton M.D.

Our center is led by Paul Thornton M.D., one of the founders of the nation’s first HI center and certainly one the most recognized and respected HI specialists here and around the world.

Actively involved at the international level, our specialty medical team works with other renowned physicians, researchers and specialists to continually improve the care and treatment of children with HI. The result is that our program is continually breaking new ground and bringing innovative treatments and even cures for infants, children, teens and young adults who are born with this very rare disease. What that means to you and your child is access to tomorrow's treatments and cures, today.

Breaking new ground

I beat cancer!A cure for Kylinn. A new surgery changed the future of one baby, and it's creating hope for many more born with a rare form of hyperinsulinism. See how.

A pioneer in the field of hypoglycemia and hyperinsulinism, Paul Thornton M.D. is once again leading the way into advanced research and new treatments.

Thanks to Dr. Thornton's guidance, the expertise of his team and the commitment of our leadership, the Cook Children's Hyperinsulinism Center offers state-of-the-art technology, the very latest in advanced medical treatments, life-changing surgeries, and even cures. We also provide the very best care available to patients and families facing this diagnosis.

And it's care that goes well beyond our walls. As an Endowed Chair, doctor Thornton continues to break new ground through research and teaching that benefits patients here at Cook Children's, across the nation and around the globe.

A HI-gher level of care

When you choose Cook Children's Hyperinsulinism Center, you can trust that your child will receive the most advanced – and compassionate – care possible. We do this through:

Most symptoms of hyperinsulinism appear within the first few hours or days after a baby is born. Having these fragile little patients cared for at Cook Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit offers state-of-the-art technology, a highly experienced staff and peace of mind knowing that your baby is receiving award-winning care around the clock.

Our all-private-room neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) offers state-of-the-art technology, a highly experienced staff and care that extends beyond your baby … to your entire family.

First baby on Cook Children's Teddy JetHyperinsulinism patient launches the 'jet set' as the first baby to arrive on our super high-speed mobile ICU. Our Teddy Bear Transport team is able to begin treatment from the moment they arrive to pick up the patient, until the child is delivered to the medical center where top specialists are ready and waiting. See baby Rachel's news story now.

In addition to newborns, we are a referral center for older children with very rare (1 per million) insulinomas (insulin secreting tumors of the pancreas). In our highly advanced interventional radiology suite, tumors can be localized by performing pancreatic arterial calcium stimulation tests (very similar to differentiating focal from diffuse disease in infants years ago). So far, we are 100 percent accurate in localizing the tumors and removing them and we have cured the patients and eliminated the risk of diabetes.

Our HI Center includes testing and diagnosis, surgery and disease management through a combination of medication, diet and physical and occupational therapy. Because many of our young patients will need a lifetime of care for their hypoglycemia, we also provide ongoing training for parents, caregivers, including your child’s pediatrician and/or your family physician, and patients to help manage the disease through the many stages and changes in the child’s life.

Whether it’s intensive care for a baby who is hours old, preparing a child for surgery or providing ongoing support well into young adulthood, you can trust that when it comes to treatment at Cook Children’s, we have one focus: your child.

Who we treat

Since opening our hyperinsulinism center, we have consulted, evaluated and treated an extensive amount of children with hypoglycemia from unknown causes to recurrent hypoglycemia due to hyperinsulinism. We are the only specialized CHI center in the South and we know we can make a difference in your child’s life.

The Hyperinsulinism Center at Cook Children’s is open to any child, from newborns to young adults, who is suspected of having a form of hyperinsulinism or has been diagnosed with this disorder. We see patients from all across the south, southeast, southwest, west coast, and even from around the world. And thanks to the support of our community and our social services team, we never turn away a child who needs care simply because they can’t afford it.

Children who are newly diagnosed with hyperinsulinism are admitted to Cook Children's Medical Center to receive a comprehensive medical evaluation. The medical staff will work closely with your family and your child to understand the disease and teach you the skills necessary to manage the disease in your daily life. After leaving the medical center, routine follow-up care will continue on an outpatient basis. Depending on the type of hyperinsulinism and the treatment plan, the initial admission is two weeks to three months.

Nurses at Cook Children'sFrom quality care to normal childhood Cook Children's Hyperinsulinism Center is making a huge difference in the lives of the children and families we treat. From the birth of our program, our research and advanced treatment programs continue to grow, so do our patients, like Ty and Caroline. SeeTy's and Caroline's story here and learn more about how Cook Children's is making a difference in the lives of HI patients and their families and caregivers every day through treatment, education and ongoing support.

When your child is first diagnosed, hospitalization may be necessary to evaluate and closely monitor his/her blood glucose levels. You will need to learn how to monitor and treat your child for hypoglycemia. Once your child goes home, frequent phone calls to the nurse/physician to report blood sugars may be needed. Appointments to see the endocrinologist may be every 1-4 months and later may be changed to every 6 months. Remember, you will also need to follow-up with your child’s primary care doctor for well childcare. If you have additional questions, contact your health care professional

What we treat

There are many genetic forms of CHI with more being discovered each year. Early identification and treatment of these genetic forms of CHI is critical to preventing serious complications in this children, such as brain damage. We treat all forms of this rare disease, including:

Our specialty care team

Thornton, Paul Stephen M.D. 

Thornton, Paul Stephen M.D.
Medical Director
Endocrine and Diabetes Program

View physician biography

Acosta, Fernando Jr. M.D. 

Acosta, Fernando Jr. M.D.
Neuroloigst
View physician biography

Alles, Ajit J. M.D. 

Alles, Ajit J. M.B.B.S., Ph.D.
Pathologist
View physician biography

     

Keng, Jane A. M.D. 

Keng, Jane A. M.D.
Gastroenterologist
View physician biography

Heym, Kenneth M.D. 

Miller, James P. M.D.
Pediatric Surgeon
View physician biography

Nedrelow, Jonathan H. M.D. 

Nedrelow, Jonathan H. M.D.
Neonatologist
View physician biography

     

Putegnat, Burton Barry III M.D. 

Putegnat, Burton Barry III M.D.
Radiologist
View physician biography

Thomas, Teena M.D 

Thomas, Teena M.D.
Endocrinologist
View physician biography

 
     

Our goal is to provide the most recent technology and best quality of care for babies and children with CHI, while providing support and information to their families. Central to this is our special team of doctors that include pediatric endocrinologists, surgeons, neurologists, neonatologists, gastroenterologists, pathologists and radiologists. We also have a CHI nurse, nutritionist, social worker, psychologist, Child Life specialists and feeding and speech therapists. When you bring your child to Cook Children’s, you’ll find much more than a medical team, you’ll find a family of people who care about the most important thing in the world, your child.

Preparing for your HI visit

If your child has been referred to Cook Childrens Hyperinsulinism Center with a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of hyperinsulinism, you are no doubt scared and nervous. Knowing what to expect when you arrive can help to make things easier.

It is often helpful if you write down a list of your child's symptoms, as well as a list of questions you may have. In addtion, you may want to bring a family member or close friend who can take notes, parents often feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to remember parts of what is discussed. Some parents bring a recording device so that they can play back important conversations that take place during the visit.

You will start by meeting with our CHI team where we will review your child’s medical records and discuss what has happened to you and your baby prior to your arrival. We will confirm your child’s CHI diagnosis and perform genetic tests to find the cause of your baby’s CHI. Cook Children’s is at the leading edge of clinical research in CHI and we will offer your baby the opportunity to participate in our research studies that may include our database, genetic and neurological outcome studies. Participation in our research studies is completely voluntary. You will receive the same medical care from Cook Children’s no matter whether your child takes part in these studies. Our number one goal is to create a successful plan to get you and your baby home with a safe and manageable treatment program.

Your child’s length of stay at our medical center will vary from 14 to 60 days depending on the type of CHI he or she has, the severity of the condition and the need for surgical management. Throughout the diagnosis and treatment process, your child and family will receive support from our staff and our parent support group.

Once a treatment program is established, we will prepare you to go home and make sure you are comfortable with the program. Preparation includes patient education, how to give your child his/her medication and equipment and a long-term care plan. The final step will allow you to care for your child with minimal help from our nursing team. This ensures that you understand all aspects of your child’s care and will be able to safely treat your child at home.

Nurse educators and board certified physicians are available 24 hours a day to support your child’s needs. You can call 682-885-4000 or email HICenter@cookchildrens.org if you have any questions or concerns.

Resources & education

Here you'll find resources and educational information to help you through your journey:

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We are here to help.

If you have questions or concerns, we can help. To speak to a member of our HI team, please call our offices at 682-885-7960.

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