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Cerebral vasospasm as a consequence of pituitary apoplexy: illustrative case

Somayah Alsayadi, Rafael Ochoa-Sanchez, Ioana D. Moldovan, and Fahad Alkherayf


Cerebral vasospasm is a rare but devastating complication following pituitary apoplexy. Cerebral vasospasm is often associated with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), and early detection is crucial for proper management.


The authors present a case of cerebral vasospasm after endoscopic endonasal transsphenoid surgery (EETS) in a patient with pituitary apoplexy secondary to pituitary adenoma. They also present a literature review of all similar cases published to date. The patient is a 62-year-old male who presented with headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and fatigue. He was diagnosed with pituitary adenoma with hemorrhage, for which he underwent EETS. Pre- and postoperative scans showed SAH. On postoperative day 11, he presented with confusion, aphasia, arm weakness, and unsteady gait. Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scans were consistent with cerebral vasospasm. The patient underwent endovascular treatment of acute intracranial vasospasm and was responsive to intra-arterial milrinone and verapamil infusion of the bilateral internal carotid arteries. There were no further complications.


Cerebral vasospasm is a severe complication that can occur after pituitary apoplexy. It is essential to assess the risk factors linked to the cerebral vasospasm. In addition, a high index of suspicion will allow neurosurgeons to diagnose cerebral vasospasm after EETS early and take the necessary measures to manage it accordingly.