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Conservative treatment cures an elderly pituitary apoplexy patient with oculomotor paralysis and optic nerve compression: a case report and systematic review of the literature

Authors Fan Y, Bao X, Wang R

Received 23 July 2018

Accepted for publication 9 September 2018

Published 12 October 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 1981—1985


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Zhi-Ying Wu

Yanghua Fan, Xinjie Bao, Renzhi Wang

Department of Neurosurgery, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China

Whether conservative treatment or surgical management is the most appropriate treatment for pituitary apoplexy (PA) is controversial. In general, if severe symptoms of compression occur, such as oculomotor nerve palsy, neurosurgery is performed to relieve the compression of anatomical structures near the PA.
Case description: We describe the case of a 79-year-old man who was found to have an intrasellar pituitary incidentaloma. The tumor was discovered accidentally, during an investigation into the cause of his dizziness. Two months later, he suddenly developed headaches, left ophthalmoplegia, decreased vision, severe blepharoptosis and diplopia. He was diagnosed with PA and hypocortisolemia based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and blood tests, respectively. His symptoms of oculomotor palsy and optic nerve compression were serious, but his ophthalmological deficits were nonprogressive and his hormone levels improved through conservative treatment (hydrocortisone supplementation). Due to this older patient’s poor physical condition and serious coronary heart disease, after multidisciplinary consultation and according to his family’s wishes, we continued the conservative treatment and watched closely for any changes in the patient’s condition. After 6 months of conservative treatment, the patient’s symptoms of oculomotor nerve paralysis, pupil and vision defects completely disappeared, and no new complications occurred. Repeated MRI tests showed that the PA lesion gradually improved. The patient’s hypocortisolemia was completely relieved through oral supplementation with low-dose hydrocortisone.
Conclusion: In older PA patients who have surgical contraindications, even with symptoms of compression, such as oculomotor nerve palsy, according to the international guidelines, if conservative treatment is effective and the condition is not progressing, it is possible to monitor patients’ condition closely and continue conservative treatment, which may yield good results.

pituitary apoplexy, oculomotor paralysis, conservative treatment

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