Pituitary apoplexy: an endocrinologic emergency

M J Noordzij, L J M de Heide, G van den Berg, E W Hoving

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    A 32-year-old woman, a 73-year-old man and a 26-year-old pregnant woman presented with headache, vomiting, and variable presence of visual disturbances, impaired consciousness, and circulatory shock. All three had pituitary apoplexy. In the first patient lymphocytic hypophysitis was diagnosed, the second had a nonfunctional adenoma and the last patient probably also. All three patients were treated conservatively with full recovery of signs and symptoms. However pituitary insufficiency remained in all three. Pituitary apoplexy is an acute event with significant morbidity and mortality. The cause is a rapid expansion of, usually, a pre-existing, often not yet known, adenoma by massive haemorrhage or infarction. Pressure, among other things, causes hypopituitarism, meningism, compression of the chiasma opticum and visual disturbances. Although many predisposing factors have been identified, pituitary apoplexy is often an unpredictable event. Diagnosis is made by the typical clinical presentation, eye examination, MRI and by measuring pituitary hormones. Treatment is with suppletion of the deficient hormones and in selected patients by transsphenoidal decompression surgery.

    Translated title of the contributionPituitary apoplexy: an endocrinologic emergency
    Original languageDutch
    Pages (from-to)2748-51
    Number of pages4
    JournalNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
    Issue number49
    Publication statusPublished - 3-Dec-2005


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