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JOURNAL OF NEUROSURGICAL SCIENCES
A Journal on Neurosurgery
Indexed/Abstracted in: e-psyche, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Neuroscience Citation Index, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,651
Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 1999 March;43(1):25-36
Pituitary apoplexy. Clinical course, endocrine evaluations and treatment analysis
Casulari Roxo da Motta L. A., Andrade de Mello P., Moreira de Lacerda C., Pereira NEto A., Dominigues Casulari da Motta L., Farage Filho M.
Neurosurgery Unit, Hospital de Base do Distrito Federal (UNC-HBDF), Brasilia, Brasil
Background. The purpose was to analyze clinical manifestations, hormonal changes, diagnosis difficulties and treatment of pituitary apoplexy (PA).
Experimental design. A retrospective study of clinical records from patients with pituitary adenomas admitted from January 1980 to June 1996; the purpose was to identify the patients with clinical evidence compatible with PA. Setting. Neurosurgery unit of an institutional hospital. Patients. Sixteen (12.8%) of 125 patients with pituitary adenomas were analyzed because they had pituitary apoplexy. Interventions. Surgical treatment by the trans-sphenoidal or transcranial route or both routes; dexamethasone (DXM) treatment with 16 mg/day i.v. Measures. Hormone assays were performed either by radioimmunoassay or by chemical luminescence.
Results.Tumors were nonfunctioning in nine patients and functioning in seven. TSH and prolactin basal serum levels were impaired in 55.5% and 10%, respectively; after exogenous TRH 80% of the patients did not show stimulation of TSH and prolactin secretions. LH and FSH levels were low in 63.6% and 54.6% of the patients, respectively; gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) testing was abnormal in 75% of the patients evaluated. Cortisol levels were low in 50% of the patients. After insulin-induced hypoglycemia, cortisol and GH failed to rise in 25% and 40% of cases, respectively. Ten patients were submitted to surgical treatment, but none during PA. The average time from the onset of apoplectic symptoms and surgery was 70±50 days. Only one patient died two months after surgery. Five patients were treated with dexamethasone (DXM) during the apoplectic symptoms: three patients died; one patient had good quality of life; the other patient was treated initially with DXM with improvement of vision, but after surgery he developed panhypopituirarism. Two other patients did not receive specific treatment for PA.
Conclusions. PA is not a rare pituitary adenoma complication and its prognosis may be poor; baseline hormone levels showed a wide range of abnormalities of pituitary function; surgical treatment was required in the majority of patients and the prognosis was relatively good; on the contrary, the treatment with DXM only had high levels of mortality.