The pituitary stalk transection syndrome: Multifaceted presentation in adulthood

Adriana Gabriela Ioachimescu, Amir H. Hamrahian, Mariam Stevens, Robert S. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The pituitary stalk transection syndrome was characterized after introducing the MRI scan in the evaluation of children with hypopituitarism. Its prevalence and natural history into adulthood have not been clearly established. We present 4 cases of stalk transection syndrome diagnosed by the adult endocrinologist that reflect its pleiotropic manifestations. In all cases, MRI showed pathognomonic findings with small anterior pituitary, diminutive or absent infundibulum and ectopic posterior pituitary at the median eminence. Clinical presentation occurred in childhood or the second decade of life. The hormonal deficits were variable in severity and onset, with adrenal insufficiency diagnosed in the second and forth decade in three patients, and absent in another. Growth hormone deficiency was diagnosed before age 10 in three cases and at age 20 in one case with normal spontaneous linear growth. Hypothyroidism had onset in the first or second decade of life and hypogonadism was diagnosed during work-up for lack of pubertal development in all cases. The pituitary stalk transection syndrome should be considered in patients who were previously thought to have idiopathic GH deficiency or multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies. Presence of MRI characteristics compatible with the pituitary stalk transection syndrome should prompt a full pituitary hormonal evaluation. Long-term follow-up by the adult endocrinologist is warranted as new hormone deficiencies might appear later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-411
Number of pages7
JournalPituitary
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Ectopic posterior pituitary
  • GH deficiency
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Stalk dysgenesis
  • Stalk transaction syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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