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Open access

M Nwokolo and J Fletcher

Summary

A 46-year-old woman presented multiple times in a 4-month period with hypotension, sepsis, hypoglycaemia and psychosis. A low random cortisol in combination with her presenting complaint made adrenal insufficiency the likely diagnosis. Fluid resuscitation and i.v. steroid therapy led to clinical improvement; however, a short synacthen test (SST) demonstrated an apparently satisfactory cortisol response. The test was repeated on a later admission and revealed a peak cortisol level of 25 nmol/l (>550 nmol/l). Concurrent treatment with i.v. hydrocortisone had led to a false-negative SST. ACTH was <5 ng/l (>10 ng/l), indicating secondary adrenal failure. We discuss the challenges surrounding the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency and hypopituitarism, the rare complication of psychosis and a presumptive diagnosis of autoimmune lymphocytic hypophysitis (ALH).

Learning points

  • Adrenocortical insufficiency must be considered in the shocked, hypovolaemic and hypoglycaemic patient with electrolyte imbalance. Rapid treatment with fluid resuscitation and i.v. corticosteroids is vital.

  • Polymorphic presentations to multiple specialities are common. Generalised myalgia, abdominal pain and delirium are well recognised, psychosis is rare.

  • A random cortisol can be taken with baseline bloods. Once the patient is stable, meticulous dynamic testing must follow to confirm the clinical diagnosis.

  • The chronic disease progression of ALH is hypothesised to be expansion then atrophy of the pituitary gland resulting in empty sella turcica and hypopituitarism.

  • If hypopituitarism is suspected, an ACTH deficiency should be treated prior to commencing thyroxine (T4) therapy as unopposed T4 may worsen features of cortisol deficiency.

Open access

Eline van der Valk, Tom Tobe, Aline Stades and Alex Muller

Summary

A 53-year-old male presented with recurrent calcium oxalate kidney stones as a first sign of underlying acromegaly, which vanished when his acromegaly was controlled. The exact mechanism behind hypercalciuria and urolithiasis in acromegaly is not yet clear. By discussing this case, a short overview of the pathophysiology of hypercalciuria in acromegaly and practical insights are given.

Learning points

  • Hypercalciuria is a common finding in acromegaly.

  • There are only few reports describing hypercalciuric kidney stones in acromegaly.

  • We assume that in acromegaly there is a primary role of IGF1-mediated, PTH-independent increase in calcitriol synthesis resulting in hypercalciuric kidney stones.