Prolonged Hypercupremia after Laparoscopic Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Successfully Treated with Oral Zinc

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A 30-year-old female underwent vertical sleeve gastrectomy. Postoperatively, hypercupremia and elevated ceruloplasmin were identified. Further testing revealed normal blood levels of transaminases, alkaline phosphatase, and albumin. She stopped ingestion of multivitamins, began a copper-free multivitamin, and then began a low copper diet, but with no improvement in hypercupremia. Protein electrophoresis was normal with no M-spike. Urinary copper excretion was normal at 0.24 micromol/24 hours (normal: < 0.55), and there were no Kayser-Fleischer rings on slit lamp examination. Two years postoperatively, she lost 44% of excess preoperative weight and she began zinc sulfate before meals twice daily (115 mg elemental Zinc/day). At 2 months and 8 months later, plasma copper and ceruloplasmin had essentially normalized. Increased production of ceruloplasmin could have been a response to significant weight loss or the presence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. The mechanism of zinc’s beneficial effect is uncertain but may be related to suppressing hepatic synthesis of or secretion of ceruloplasmin.