Apoplexy is a medical term that refers to a cerebral hemorrhage or other sudden neurological impairment.
Pituitary apoplexy occurs when a pituitary adenoma either spontaneously hemorrhages or grows in such a way as to compress and cut off its own blood supply, resulting in tumor cell death, bleeding, and acute swelling.
The hemorrhage- or necrosis-induced swelling can compress the:
Pituitary apoplexy is a medical emergency and can be fatal if untreated. With treatment, however, the prognosis is good.
Surgery is performed after medical stabilization. At UPMC, the preferred surgical treatment for pituitary apoplexy is the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) to remove the tumor and decompress the area.
The physician will ask about symptoms, which often are sudden and severe. These may include:
Pituitary apoplexy can be diagnosed by imaging studies such as head CT and MRI, along with lab studies to evaluate electrolyte, glucose, and pituitary hormone levels.
Once the person has been medically stabilized, surgery is usually a required treatment to decompress the constricted areas and remove the tumor.
Pituitary apoplexies can be directly accessed through the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA). This approach allows doctors to:
The remaining pituitary gland is explored carefully to check for other lesions, and all abnormal tissue is removed.