Congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI) is the most important cause of persistent hypoglycaemia in the neonate and infant. It is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous entity. The clinical heterogeneity is manifested by severity ranging from extremely severe life-threatening disease to very mild clinical symptoms which may even be difficult to identify. Furthermore, clinical responsiveness to medical and surgical management is extremely variable. Two histopathological forms have been described: a diffuse form of CHI and a focal form of CHI. Recent discoveries have begun to clarify the molecular aetiology of the disease and therefore the mechanisms responsible for its clinical heterogeneity are becoming clearer. Mutations in four different genes have been identified in patients with CHI. Most cases are caused by mutations in genes coding for either of the two subunits of the β-cell K<sub>ATP</sub> channel ( ABCC8 and KCNJ11). In the diffuse form of CHI, the hyperinsulinism is due to a recessive mutation of both alleles of these genes (rare dominant mutations have been described). In the focal form of CHI, two events intervene: first, the inheritance of a paternal ABCC8/ KCNJ11 mutation; second, the focal reduction to homozygosity of the mutation during pancreatic development by a localized loss of the maternal 11p15 region. Others cases of CHI are due to rare mutations in the β-cell enzymes glucokinase (only one family described) and glutamate dehydrogenase in hyperammonaemia-associated hyperinsulinism. However, in as many as 50% of cases, no genetic aetiology has yet been identified.