Document Type



Diabetes/Endocrinology and Metabolism


OBJECTIVE: To describe the etiology, functional status and short term outcome of patients with pituitary lesions (PL).

METHODS: Brain or pituitary MRI reports of 3753 patients were analyzed for PL over the period of 2000 to 2007, done at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Karachi, Pakistan. MRIs with reported PL and all those ordered by Endocrinologists with or without pituitary abnormalities, were included in the analysis. This made a total of 338 (9%) MRI reports. PL were defined as pituitary tumors, cysts, haemorrhage, hypoplasia; and empty sella. Patients with these PL, were analyzed for symptoms, hormonal profile and short term outcome in the hospital retrospectively.

RESULTS: In the analysis of 338 MRI reports, 23% had normal pituitary gland on MRI examination. Hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism was the commonest (38.5%) endocrine abnormality seen with normal pituitary MRI, followed by hypopituitarism (5.1%). Most common PL identified were macroadenoma (38.7%), empty sella (16.5%) and microadenoma (12.7%). Patients with macroadenoma had 58% of non-functional tumours while 19.1% had hypopituitrism, 17.6% had acromegaly and 17.5% had prolactinoma. Majority of these lesions were causing headache and visual symptoms (42.7%) and were treated with surgery (75.5%). Patients with microadenoma included 39.5% prolactinomas, 18.6% cushing disease, 14% acromegaly, 4.7% hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism and 2.3% hypopituitrism. Majority of these lesions were treated with drugs and 37.3% were treated with surgery. In empty sella patients, 32% patients had endocrine abnormalities among which 21.4% had hypopituitrism, 2% had hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, and only 6% patients had normal endocrine workup. A significant number of patients (62.5%) never had endocrine hormonal checkup.

CONCLUSION: Although PL are less common entities (9% in 3,753 reports) but they are associated with significant endocrinal abnormalities and need prompt treatment. Empty sella, which is not considered as a distinct abnormality, is also associated with significant endocrine deficiencies.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association