Up until now, scientists have understood that there are two main subtypes of the disease- known as diffuse and focal.
Diffuse CHI affects the entire pancreas, whilst focal CHI affects just one area of the organ, forming a focal lesion.
The team from Manchester now understand that focal CHI can be further categorised into two types- spreading focal lesions and isolated focal lesions.
Spreading focal lesions are generally larger and spread outwards into areas of healthy cells.
Isolated focal lesions, on the other hand, have a capsule around them which keeps the diseased cells separate from healthy cells.
The research team investigated the cases of 25 infants with focal CHI to see how the two types of lesions influenced their long-term outcomes.
The researchers found that babies with spreading focal lesions suffered more severely from the disease and were diagnosed earlier.
These infants were more likely to suffer brain damage which permanently affected their development, learning and behaviour.
In contrast, in infants with isolated lesions, the disease was diagnosed later and surgery to remove the lesion was less complicated.
These new data help to explain why new-born babies diagnosed with the same disease may go on to have very different outcomes and could influence the way clinicians choose to manage each new case of CHI.
“Although the impact of these findings is limited to centres with surgical resources, for those centres the data is immediately applicable and translatable clinically” explains Professor Mark Dunne from The University of Manchester and lead author on the study.
To find out more about the impact that CHI has on families around the UK, visit the hyperinsulinism charity . For more information on one of the specialised UK services that treats CHI patients, visit Norchi