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Amparo Wolf, Sandy Goncalves, Fateme Salehi, Jeff Bird, Paul Cooper, Stan Van Uum, Donald H. Lee, Brian W. Rotenberg and Neil Duggal

OBJECT

The relationship between headaches, pituitary adenomas, and surgical treatment of pituitary adenomas remains unclear. The authors assessed the severity and predictors of self-reported headaches in patients referred for surgery of pituitary adenomas and evaluated the impact of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery on headache severity and quality of life (QOL).

METHODS

In this prospective study, 79 patients with pituitary adenomas underwent endoscopic transsphenoidal resection and completed the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) QOL questionnaire preoperatively and at 6 weeks and 6 months postoperatively.

RESULTS

Preoperatively, 49.4% of patients had mild headache severity, 13.9% had moderate severity, 13.9% had substantial severity, and 22.8% had intense severity. Younger age and hormone-producing tumors predisposed greater headache severity, while tumor volume, suprasellar extension, chiasmal compression, and cavernous sinus invasion of the pituitary tumors did not. Preoperative headache severity was found to be significantly associated with reduced scores across all SF-36 QOL dimensions and most significantly associated with mental health. By 6 months postoperatively, headache severity was reduced in a significant proportion of patients. Of the 40 patients with headaches causing an impact on daily living (moderate, substantial, or intense headache), 70% had improvement of at least 1 category on HIT-6 by 6 months postoperatively, while headache worsened in 7.6% of patients. The best predictors of headache response to surgery included younger age, poor preoperative SF-36 mental health score, and hormone-producing microadenoma.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study confirm that surgery can significantly improve headaches in patients with pituitary adenomas by 6 months postoperatively, particularly in younger patients whose preoperative QOL is impacted. A larger multicenter study is underway to evaluate the long-term effect of surgery on headaches in this patient group.

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Amparo Wolf, Alexandra Coros, Joel Bierer, Sandy Goncalves, Paul Cooper, Stan Van Uum, Donald H. Lee, Alain Proulx, David Nicolle, J. Alexander Fraser, Brian W. Rotenberg and Neil Duggal

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic resection of pituitary adenomas has been reported to improve vision function in up to 80%–90% of patients with visual impairment due to these adenomas. It is unclear how these reported rates translate into improvement in visual outcomes and general health as perceived by the patients. The authors evaluated self-assessed health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) and vision-related QOL (VR-QOL) in patients before and after endoscopic resection of pituitary adenomas.

METHODS

The authors prospectively collected data from 50 patients who underwent endoscopic resection of pituitary adenomas. This cohort included 32 patients (64%) with visual impairment preoperatively. Twenty-seven patients (54%) had pituitary dysfunction, including 17 (34%) with hormone-producing tumors. Patients completed the National Eye Institute Visual Functioning Questionnaire and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey preoperatively and 6 weeks and 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS

Patients with preoperative visual impairment reported a significant impact of this condition on VR-QOL preoperatively, including general vision, near activities, and peripheral vision; they also noted vision-specific impacts on mental health, role difficulties, dependency, and driving. After endoscopic resection of adenomas, patients reported improvement across all these categories 6 weeks postoperatively, and this improvement was maintained by 6 months postoperatively. Patients with preoperative pituitary dysfunction, including hormone-producing tumors, perceived their general health and physical function as poorer, with some of these patients reporting improvement in perceived general health after the endoscopic surgery. All patients noted that their ability to work or perform activities of daily living was transiently reduced 6 weeks postoperatively, followed by significant improvement by 6 months after the surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Both VR-QOL and patient's perceptions of their ability to do work and perform other daily activities as a result of their physical health significantly improved by 6 months after endoscopic resection of pituitary adenoma. The use of multidimensional QOL questionnaires provides a precise assessment of perceived outcomes after endoscopic surgery.

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Philippe A. Chouinard, Christopher L. Striemer, Won Hyung A. Ryu, Irene Sperandio, Melvyn A. Goodale, David A. Nicolle, Brian Rotenberg and Neil Duggal

Compression induced by a pituitary tumor on the optic chiasm can generate visual field deficits, yet it is unknown how this compression affects the retinotopic organization of the visual cortex. It is also not known how the effect of the tumor on the retinotopic organization of the visual cortex changes after decompression. The authors used functional MRI (fMRI) to map the retinotopic organization of the visual cortex in a 68-year-old right-handed woman before and 3 months after surgery for a recurrent pituitary macroadenoma. The authors demonstrated that longitudinal changes in visual field perimetry, as assessed by the automated Humphrey visual field test, correlated with longitudinal changes in fMRI activation in a retinotopic manner. In other words, after decompression of the optic chiasm, fMRI charted the recruitment of the visual cortex in a way that matched gains in visual field perimetry. On the basis of this case, the authors propose that fMRI can chart neural plasticity of the visual cortex on an individual basis and that it can also serve as a complementary tool in decision making with respect to management of patients with chiasmal compression.