Pituitary apoplexy: a study of eighteen cases

R. F. Chen*, H. S. Huang, B. Y. Huang, J. D. Lin, J. H. Juang, C. N. Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations


Pituitary Apoplexy is a rare but sometimes life threatening condition which requires prompt recognition and timely medical intervention to avoid catastrophic consequences. From January 1979 to June 1989 and total of one hundred and ninety eight pituitary tumor patients were operated on our hospital. Eighteen cases (9.1%) were diagnosed "pituitary apoplexy" according to histopathological findings. The group consisted of twelve men and six women ranging in age from twenty two to sixty one years with a mean of forty. There were three cases of prolactin-secreting adenomas (16.7%), four growth-hormone secreting adenomas (22.2%), and eleven nonfunctional adenomas (61.1%) with an incidence of 6.1%, 8.3%, and 11.4% respectively (P > 0.05). Clinical manifestation occurred acutely in 66.7% and nonacutely in 33.3%. The patients presented with headaches (100%), visual impairment (83.3%), visual field defects (66%), disturbed consciousness (22%), fever and meningismus (11%). Radiological examinations able to demonstrate abnormalities included plain skull films (84%), computed tomography (84.6%), and angiography (93.8%). Various investigations of endocrine function pre and post operatively showed a deficient gonad axis (53%, 62.5%), adrenal axis (26.7%, 56.2%), and thyroid axis (20%, 43.8%). Sixteen cases received a transsphenoid operation and three cases underwent a transfrontal craniotomy. No case of mortality was reported. Postoperative radiotherapy was given to nine cases and nine cases were followed up on a regular basis. Therefore, our retrospective study suggests that pituitary apoplexy is not uncommon and has an acute clinical presentation. No particular tumor type was prone to occur. Various radiological examinations could define perisellar abnormalities. With a decreasing order of hormone deficiency, gonad, adrenal and thyroid axis were observed during the course of treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-494
Number of pages6
JournalChinese Medical Journal (Taipei)
Issue number6
StatePublished - 12 1992
Externally publishedYes


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