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Tarun D. Singh, Navid Valizadeh, Fredric B. Meyer, John L. D. Atkinson, Dana Erickson, and Alejandro A. Rabinstein


This study was undertaken to analyze the predisposing factors, clinical presentation, therapeutic management, and clinical recovery in patients with pituitary apoplexy, with an emphasis on the long-term visual, endocrine, and functional outcomes.


The authors performed a retrospective analysis of consecutive cases involving patients treated at Mayo Clinic between 1992 and 2013. Patients were included in the study only if they had 1) abrupt onset of severe headache or visual disturbance in the presence of a pituitary adenoma and 2) radiological or surgical confirmation of a pituitary mass. The primary endpoints of analysis were the visual (ocular motility, visual fields, and visual acuity), endocrine, and functional outcomes (using the modified Rankin Scale).


Eighty-seven patients were identified (57 males and 30 females, mean age 50.9 years, range 15–91 years). Twenty-two patients (25.3%) had a known pituitary adenoma. Hypertension was the most common associated factor (39%). Headache was the most frequent presenting symptom (89.7%), followed by visual abnormalities (47.1%). Cranial nerve palsies were present in 39% and visual field defects in 34.1%. MRI detected hemorrhage in 89% patients, as compared with 42% detected by CT scan. Sixty-one patients (70.1%) underwent surgery during acute hospitalization (median time from apoplexy 5 days, IQR 3–10 days), 8 (9.2%) had delayed surgery, and 18 (20.7%) were treated conservatively. Histopathological examination revealed adenoma with pure necrosis in 18 (30%), pure hemorrhage in 4 (6.7%), and both in 6 (10%) patients. Four patients died during hospitalization. The average duration of follow-up was 44.2 ± 43.8 months. All survivors were independent and had complete resolution or substantial improvement in eye movements and visual fields at the last follow-up. Many patients needed long-term hormonal replacement with levothyroxine (62.7%) and cortisol (60%). Daily desmopressin was needed in 23% of all surgical patients at 3 months (versus none of the medically treated) and this requirement decreased slightly over time. Regrowth of pituitary adenoma was seen in 7 patients (8.6%). There were no statistically significant differences in any of the outcome measures across the treatment groups.


The outcome of most patients with pituitary apoplexy is excellent. Selected patients can be managed conservatively, and patients with severe neuro-ophthalmological deficits treated with early surgery can achieve an excellent recovery.

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Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Mark A. Pichelmann, Jonathan A. Friedman, David G. Piepgras, Douglas A. Nichols, Jon I. McIver, L. Gerard Toussaint III, Robyn L. McClelland, Jimmy R. Fulgham, Fredric B. Meyer, John L. D. Atkinson, and Eelco F. M. Wijdicks

Object. The authors studied patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) to determine whether the incidence of symptomatic vasospasm or overall clinical outcomes differed between patients treated with craniotomy and clip application and those treated by endovascular coil occlusion.

Methods. The authors reviewed 415 consecutive patients with aneurysmal SAH who had been treated with either craniotomy and clip application or endovascular coil occlusion at a single institution between 1990 and 2000. Three hundred thirty-nine patients underwent surgical clip application procedures, whereas 76 patients underwent endovascular coil occlusion.

Symptomatic vasospasm occurred in 39% of patients treated with clip application, 30% of patients treated with endovascular coil occlusion, and 37% of patients overall. Compared with patients treated with clip application, patients treated with endovascular coil occlusion were more likely to suffer acute hydrocephalus (50 compared with 34%, p = 0.008) and were more likely to harbor aneurysms in the posterior circulation (53 compared with 20%, p < 0.001). Logistic regression models controlling for patient age, admission World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies (WFNS) grade, acute hydrocephalus, aneurysm location, and day of treatment revealed that, among patients with an admission WFNS grade of I to III, endovascular coil occlusion carried a lower risk of symptomatic vasospasm (odds ratio [OR] 0.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.14—0.8) and death or permanent neurological deficit due to vasospasm (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.08–1) compared with craniotomy and clip application. Similar models revealed no difference in the likelihood of a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 3 or less at the longest follow-up review (median 6 months) between treatment groups (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.28–1.21).

Conclusions. Patients with better clinical grades (WFNS Grades I–III) at hospital admission were less likely to suffer symptomatic vasospasm when treated by endovascular coil occlusion, compared with craniotomy and clip application. Nevertheless, there was no significant difference in overall outcome at the longest follow-up examination between the two treatment groups.

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Jonathan A. Friedman, Alejandro A. Rabinstein, and Fredric B. Meyer