Pituitary apoplexy: an update on clinical and imaging features


Pituitary apoplexy (PA) is a rare and potentially fatal clinical condition presenting acute headache, vomiting, visual impairment, ophthalmoplegia, altered mental state and possible panhypopituitarism. It mostly occurs in patients with haemorrhagic infarction of the pituitary gland due to a pre-existing macroadenoma. Although there are pathological and physiological conditions that may share similar imaging characteristics, both clinical and imaging features can guide the radiologist towards the correct diagnosis, especially using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this review, we will describe the main clinical and epidemiological features of PA, illustrating CT and MRI findings and discussing the role of imaging in the differential diagnosis, prognosis and follow-up. Teaching points • Headache, ophtalmoplegia and visual impairment are frequent symptoms of pituitary apoplexy. • CT is often the first imaging tool in PA, showing areas of hyperdensity within the sellar region. • MRI could confirm haemorrhage within the pituitary gland and compression on the optic chiasm. • Frequent simulating conditions are aneurysms, Rathke cleft cysts, craniopharingioma and mucocele. • The role of imaging is still debated and needs more studies.

DOI: 10.1007/s13244-014-0362-0

Extracted Key Phrases

8 Figures and Tables

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Boellis2014PituitaryAA, title={Pituitary apoplexy: an update on clinical and imaging features}, author={A. Boellis and Alberto di Napoli and Andrea Romano and Alessandro Bozzao}, booktitle={Insights into imaging}, year={2014} }