Post-Traumatic Pituitary Tumor Apoplexy After Closed Head Injury: Case Report and Review of the Literature

Max Ward, Naveed Kamal, Neil Majmundar, Ada Baisre-De leon, Jean Anderson Eloy, James K. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Head trauma is a rare inciting factor of pituitary apoplexy (PA); however, there is a clear temporal relationship between trauma and apoplexy, and this is the first reported case of PA after an assault. Case Description: We present a rare case of a 63-year-old man who developed PA after sustaining a closed head injury from assault with a metal pole. The patient had a known pituitary tumor for which he had previously declined surgical resection. On initial computed tomography scan, there was no traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage or subarachnoid hemorrhage. There was sellar expansion but no obvious sellar hemorrhage. Within 48 hours of admission, the patient was presumed septic after developing altered mental status, fevers, hypotension, and tachycardia. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain with and without gadolinium revealed a poorly enhancing, necrotic, and hemorrhagic pituitary mass, consistent with pituitary tumor apoplexy. After administration of intravenous glucocorticoids, the patient underwent emergent endoscopic transsphenoidal resection of the pituitary tumor apoplexy. Postoperatively, the patient had neurologic improvement with stable vision. Conclusions: Early and accurate diagnosis is important to allow for timely neurosurgical intervention. Symptoms of fever, hypotension, and tachycardia in a patient with a known sellar mass should raise the suspicion of hypocortisolemia from pituitary tumor apoplexy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-335
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Endoscopic endonasal approach
  • Pituitary apoplexy
  • Traumatic


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