Vol 44, No 5 (2010)

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Pituitary apoplexy after cardiac surgery in a patient with subclinical pituitary adenoma: case report with review of literature

Hakan Yakupoglu1, Mehmet Bulent Onal1, Erdinc Civelek1, Atilla Kircelli1, Bulent Celasun2
DOI: 10.1016/S0028-3843(14)60144-4
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2010;44(5):520-525.



Pituitary adenoma infarction associated with cardiac surgery occurs rarely but it is a serious, life-threatening acute clinical event. Several mechanisms have been proposed but no direct cause has been clearly identified.

We report a case of pituitary apoplexy occurring in a 74-year-old patient 6 hours after cardiac surgery. The patient presented with confusion, unilateral ptosis and ophthalmoplegia. Neurological examination revealed right oculomotor nerve palsy and decreased level of consciousness. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a hemorrhagic and necrotic pituitary macroadenoma. After prompt endocrinological replacement therapy with hydrocortisone and levothyroxine, the confusion of the patient resolved. Removal of a non-functional macroadenoma with large necrotic areas resulted in full recovery.

The physician should be aware of pituitary adenoma infarction after open cardiac surgery and should remember that it can be fatal or cause permanent neurological or endocrine damage without proper treatment. Surgical and endocrine treatment can be life-saving procedures.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska