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Open access

Omayma Elshafie and Nicholas Woodhouse


A 79-year-old male presented with a 10-year history of intermittent headache, sweating, persistent hand numbness and uncontrolled hypertension. He was receiving Nifedipine and Hydrochorothizide. On examination (O/E), his BP was 180/100 he was acromegalic. His growth hormone (GH) was 10 mIU/L (0.0–0.1) and his insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1): 952 µg/L (76–160). An MRI of the pituitary revealed a 3 × 2 cm pituitary macroadenoma. Surgery was refused and the family agreed for a therapeutic trial of octreotide. His GH levels fell immediately. Two weeks later he was switched to long-acting monthly octreotide in September 2003. During his 16-year follow-up, he has remained well and asymptomatic off medications for hypertension. His BP and IGF-1 levels were also normal until octreotide Long acting (LA) octrotide was stopped for 3 months at age 96. During this period the IGF-1 level returned to pretreatment levels 500 ng/L (50–141), GH 24 mIU/L (0.0–0.1), and a small residual tumour 0.5–0.8 cm was seen on the MRI. Octreotide LA was restarted and the IGF-1 and GH levels returned to normal. He continues the same treatment to date age 97 without side effects. We conclude that the successful control of IGF-1, GH levels, hypertension, tumour size and clinical symptoms for more than 16 years occurred using octreotide LA in an elderly advanced acromegalic patient. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the successful use of octreotide LA for more than 16 years.

Learning points:

  • The value of a therapeutic trial of octreotide to identify responders.
  • Control of GH and IGF-1 secretion using octreotide LA.
  • The report of the successful use of octreotide for more than 16 years irrespective of age.
Open access

Nicholas Woodhouse, Fatima Bahowairath, and Omayma Elshafie


A 55-year-old female was referred with abnormal thyroid function tests (TFTs); the free thyroxine level (FT4) was undetectable <3.3 pmol/L (normal: 7.9–14.4), while her FT3, TSH and urinary iodine levels were normal. She was clinically euthyroid with a large soft lobulated goitre that had been present for more than thirty years. She received an injection of recombinant human TSH (rhTSH) following which there was a progressive rise of the FT3 and TSH levels to 23 pmol/L and >100 mIU/L respectively at 24 h, The FT4 however remained undetectable throughout. Being on thyroxine 100 µg/day for one month, her FT4 level increased to 15 pmol/L and TSH fell to 0.08 mIU/L. Four years earlier at another hospital, her FT4 level had been low (6.8 pmol/L) with a normal TSH and a raised Tc-99 uptake of 20% (normal<4%). We checked the TFTs and Tc-99 scans in 3 of her children; one was completely normal and 2 had euthyroid with soft lobulated goitres. Their Tc-99 scan uptakes were raised at 17% and 15%, with normal TFTs apart from a low FT4 7.2 pmol/L in the son with the largest thyroid nodule. This is a previously unreported form of dyshormonogenesis in which, with time, patients gradually lose their ability to synthesize thyroxine (T4) but not triiodothyroxine (T3).

Learning points:

  • This is a previously unreported form of dyshormonogenetic goitre.
  • This goitre progressively loses its ability to synthesize T4 but not T3.
  • The inability to synthesize T4 was demonstrated by giving rhTSH.
Open access

Omayma Elshafie, Yahya Al Badaai, Khalifa Alwahaibi, Asim Qureshi, Samir Hussein, Faisal Al Azzri, Ali Almamari, and Nicholas Woodhouse


A 48-year-old hypertensive and diabetic patient presented with a 10-year history of progressive right facial pain, tinnitus, hearing loss, sweating, and palpitations. Investigations revealed a 5.6 cm vascular tumor at the carotid bifurcation. Her blood pressure (BP) was 170/110, on lisinopril 20 mg od and amlodipine 10 mg od and 100 U of insulin daily. A catecholamine-secreting carotid body paraganglioma (CSCBP) was suspected; the diagnosis was confirmed biochemically by determining plasma norepinephrine (NE) level, 89 000 pmol/l, and chromogranin A (CgA) level, 279 μg/l. Meta-iodobenzylguanidine and octreotide scanning confirmed a single tumor in the neck. A week after giving the patient a trial of octreotide 100 μg 8 h, the NE level dropped progressively from 50 000 to 25 000 pmol/l and CgA from 279 to 25 μg/l. Treatment was therefore continued with labetalol 200 mg twice daily (bid) and long-acting octreotide-LA initially using 40 mg/month and later increasing to 80 mg/month. On this dose and with a reduced labetalol intake of 100 mg bid, BP was maintained at 130/70 and her symptoms resolved completely. CgA levels returned to normal in the first week and these were maintained throughout the 3 month treatment period. During tumor resection, there were minimal BP fluctuations during the 10 h procedure. We conclude that short-term high-dose octreotide-LA might prove valuable in the preoperative management of catecholamine-secreting tumors. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the successful use of octreotide in a CSCBP.

Learning points

  • The value of octreotide scanning in the localization of extra-adrenal pheochromocytoma.
  • Control of catecholamine secretion using high-dose octreotide.
  • This is a report of a rare cause of secondary diabetes and hypertension.