JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Clinical versus subclinical pituitary apoplexy: presentation, surgical management, and outcome in 21 patients.

Neurosurgery 1990 June
A retrospective review of 16 consecutive patients with pituitary apoplexy treated over a 10-year period is reported. Eight men and 8 women (mean age, 48 years) underwent transsphenoidal decompression after an average duration of symptoms of 19 days. The diagnosis of pituitary apoplexy was made by the sudden onset of headache (88%), nausea (56%), or meningismus (13%), with or without visual disturbances (75%), in the setting of a sellar tumor on computed tomographic or magnetic resonance imaging scans. Thirteen of 16 patients showed significant improvement of symptoms after surgery (average follow-up, 2.5 years). In addition, 5 patients with clinically silent yet extensive pituitary hemorrhage were treated. Although extensive pituitary hemorrhage often produced fulminant apoplexy, it also presented insidiously over many days with few, if any, clinical signs. Rapid diagnosis, endocrine replacement, and transsphenoidal decompression constituted effective therapy. Magnetic resonance imaging (after at least 12 hours of symptoms) was superior to computed tomography in detecting hemorrhage.

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