JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Management of pituitary apoplexy: clinical experience with 40 patients.

Acta Neurochirurgica 2005 Februrary
BACKGROUND: Pituitary apoplexy is a rare major clinical event with neurological, neuro-ophthalmological, cardiovascular and hormonal consequences, resulting from an acute infarction of pituitary adenoma. We report our experience with a series of 40 patients presenting with pituitary apoplexy.

PATIENTS: Forty patients (27 males, 13 females; mean age, 51.2 yr) were admitted to our medical center between years 1985-2002 with acute presentation of pituitary apoplexy. Visual field defects occurred in 61% and ocular paresis in 40% of subjects. Sixty-three percent of adenomas were nonfunctional, and prolactinomas comprised 31%.

RESULTS: Thirty-four patients underwent transsphenoidal pituitary decompression. Visual fields and ophthalmoplegia improved in 81% and 71%, respectively. During follow-up (4.5+/-5.4 yr), 79% of patients developed hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, central hypothyroidism appeared in 54% and hypocortisolism--in 40% of patients. Permanent diabetes insipidus was diagnosed in 8%. Serial sellar MRI showed disappearance of pituitary tumor in 63% of operated subjects. Six patients (3 with PRL-secreting and 3 nonfunctional adenomas) were treated medically (corticosteroids, dopamine agonists), two patients (out of three) with visual deficits improved, and tumor shrinkage was noted in four.

CONCLUSIONS: We present a large series of patients with pituitary apoplexy. Most subjects were operated, but six were treated conservatively. Almost all patients improved clinically, including those who were not operated, but hormonal deficiencies are very common.

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