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Open access

A Khanna, R Khurana, A Kyriacou, R Davies and DW Ray

Summary

To assess continuous subcutaneous hydrocortisone infusion (CSHI) in patients with adrenocortical insufficiency (AI) and difficulties with oral replacement. Three patients with AI and frequent hospital admissions attributed to adrenal crises were treated with CSHI, which was delivered via a continuous subcutaneous infusion. All three patients preferred CSHI and remained on it long term, which permitted prolonged follow-up analysis. All three patients reported symptomatic improvement, and in two cases, reduced hospital admission rates and inpatient stay lengths were observed. The cost of hospital admissions and overall treatment was reduced in all cases. CSHI offers a practical and acceptable alternative to oral replacement in a subset of patients with AI. The cost of initiating and maintaining the pump is offset in the long term by reduced frequency and duration of emergency admissions. CSHI can therefore be considered in a select group of patients who are resistant to treatment with conventional oral glucocorticoids.

Learning points

  • Continuous subcutaneous infusion of cortisol is a viable alternative in patients unable to take oral steroids.

  • Patient acceptability was high, with three out of three patients preferring to remain on pump treatment.

  • Hospital admissions were reduced in response to pump therapy, which compensated for the increased treatment cost.

  • The daily dosage of hydrocortisone can be reduced by using pump therapy.

Open access

Hanna Remde, Elke Kaminsky, Mathias Werner and Marcus Quinkler

Summary

We report of a male patient aged 32 years who presented with primary hyperparathyroidism. Three parathyroid glands were resected. At the age of 46 years, nervus facialis irritation was noted, and an MRI scan incidentally revealed a non-functioning pituitary adenoma with affection of the chiasma opticum. The patient underwent transsphenoidal operation resulting in pituitary insufficiency postoperatively. At the same time, primary hyperparathyroidism reoccurred and a parathyroid adenoma located at the thymus was resected. The mother of the patient died early due to multiple tumors. The patient was suspected to have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) and genetic analysis was performed. In addition, on clinical examination, multiple exostoses were noticed and an additional genetic analysis was performed. His father was reported to have multiple osteochondromas too. MEN1 was diagnosed in the patient showing a novel heterozygote mutation c.2T>A in exon 2, codon 1 (start codon ATG>AAG;p.Met1?) of the MEN1 gene. In genetic mutational analysis of the EXT1 gene, another not yet known mutation c.1418-2A>C was found in intron 5 of the EXT1 gene (heterozygotic). In conclusion, we report novel mutations of the EXT1 and the MEN1 genes causing hereditary multiple osteochondromas and MEN1 in one patient.

Learning points

  • It is important to ask for the patient's family history in detail.

  • Patients with MEN1 are characterized by the occurrence of tumors in multiple endocrine tissues and nonendocrine tissues, most frequently parathyroid (95%), enteropancreatic neuroendocrine (50%), and anterior pituitary (40%) tissues.

  • Familiar MEN1 has a high degree of penetrance (80–95%) by the age over 50; however, combinations of the tumors may be different in members of the same family.

  • Patients with EXT1 gene mutations should be monitored for possible transformation of bone lesions into osteochondrosarcoma.

Open access

J Rajkanna and S O Oyibo

Summary

Testicular adrenal rest tumours (TARTs) are benign ACTH-dependent tumours that occur in males with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) and if left untreated can destroy testicular tissue. Corticosteroid suppressive treatment could result in the regression of these testicular tumours. We present a patient with bilateral large TARTs as a consequence of poor compliance to treatment and follow-up for his CAH, who consequently had to have bilateral orchidectomies and prosthesis replacement.

Learning points

  • TARTs are frequently seen in males with CAH, and can be misdiagnosed as primary testicular cancer.

  • Patient compliance to treatment and follow-up are necessary to reduce the risk of testicular damage as a result of TARTs in patients with CAH.

  • Boys with CAH should have periodic ultrasonographic screening from before adolescent age for early detection of TARTs.

  • Regular monitoring of renin, 17-hydroxyprogesterone and androgens levels is required to assess corticosteroid suppressive treatment.

  • Patients with CAH should be offered psychological support and information concerning CAH support groups.

Open access

Pia T Dinesen, Jakob Dal, Plamena Gabrovska, Mette Gaustadnes, Claus H Gravholt, Karen Stals, Judit Denes, Sylvia L Asa, Márta Korbonits and Jens O L Jørgensen

Summary

A patient of Cushing's disease (CD) characterized by a large tumor and only subtle symptoms of hormonal hypersecretion was examined. The patient had a germline variant in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor-interacting protein (AIP) gene. A 50-year-old male presenting with headache was diagnosed with a large pituitary tumor by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). His visual fields were intact and he exhibited no features of CD. Owing to an exuberant response to synacthen, an overnight dexamethasone suppression test was performed revealing inadequate suppression of plasma cortisol (419 nmol/l). Owing to tumor growth and visual field impairment, he underwent transsphenoidal surgery and developed hypocortisolemia. The pathology specimen revealed a sparsely granulated corticotrope adenoma. Postoperative MRI showed a large tumor remnant. The patient developed skin hyperpigmentation and a synacthen test demonstrated high basal and stimulated cortisol levels; an overnight dexamethasone suppression test showed no suppression (791 nmol/l) and elevated plasma ACTH levels (135 ng/l). A transcranial operation was performed followed by radiotherapy. Two months after radiotherapy, he developed secondary adrenocortical failure. Genetic testing revealed an AIP variant of unknown significance (p.R16H) without loss of the normal AIP allele in the tumor. A literature review showed ten CD patients with AIP gene variants, of whom five (including our case) were p.R16H. CD is occasionally dominated by pituitary tumor growth rather than symptoms of hypersecretion. The particular AIP gene variant identified in our patient is shared by four other reported cases of CD. Future studies are needed to assess whether the reported AIP gene variant is more than just coincidental.

Learning points

  • CD is occasionally dominated by pituitary tumor growth rather than symptoms of hypersecretion.

  • Resolution of both tumor remnant and hormonal hypersecretion may occur within 2 months after postoperative radiotherapy.

  • The particular AIP gene variant identified in our patient is shared by four other reported cases of CD.

Open access

Jaya Sujatha Gopal-Kothandapani, Veejay Bagga, Stephen B Wharton, Daniel J Connolly, Saurabh Sinha and Paul J Dimitri

Summary

Xanthogranulomatous hypophysitis (XGH) is a very rare form of pituitary hypophysitis that may present both clinically and radiologically as a neoplastic lesion. It may either be primary with an autoimmune aetiology and can occur in isolation or as a part of autoimmune systemic disease or secondary as a reactive degenerative response to an epithelial lesion (e.g. craniopharyngioma (CP), Rathke's cleft cyst, germinoma and pituitary adenomas) or as a part of a multiorgan systemic involvement such as tuberculosis, sarcoidosis or granulomatosis. It may also present with a variation of symptoms in children and adults. Our case series compares the paediatric and adult presentations of XGH and the differential diagnoses considered in one child and two adult patients, highlighting the wide spectrum of this condition. Endocrine investigations suggested panhypopituitarism in all three patients and imaging revealed a suprasellar mass compressing the optic chiasm suggestive of CP or Rathke's cleft cyst in one patient and non-functioning pituitary macroadenoma in two patients. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated mixed signal intensities on T1- and T2-weighted sequences. Following endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery, histological analysis revealed necrotic material with a xanthogranulomatous reaction confirming XGH in two patients and a necrobiotic granulomatous chronic inflammatory infiltrate with neutrophils in one patient, which is not typical of current descriptions of this disorder. This case series describes the wide spectrum of XGH disease that is yet to be defined. Mixed signal intensities on T1- and T2-weighted MRI sequences may indicate XGH and diagnosis is confirmed by histology. Histological variation may indicate an underlying systemic process.

Learning points

  • XGH is a rare form of pituitary hypophysitis with a wide clinical and histological spectrum and can mimic a neoplastic lesion.

  • XGH primarily presents with growth arrest in children and pubertal arrest in adolescents. In adults, the presentation may vary.

  • A combination of hypopituitarism and mixed signal intensity lesion on MRI is suggestive of XGH and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of sellar lesions.

  • Radical surgery is the treatment of choice and carries an excellent prognosis with no recurrence.

Open access

Beverly T Rodrigues, Zulfiquer Otty, Kunwarjit Sangla and Vasant V Shenoy

Summary

Autoimmune hypophysitis (AH) has been previously described in a typical demographic population, primarily women in the reproductive age group and perinatal period. The era of immune modulation using anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 biological therapy (ipilimumab) against advanced cancers like metastatic melanomas has now resulted in a new form of hypophysitis being increasingly recognised under a spectrum of immune-related adverse events. Drug-related AH often presents with subtle symptoms and a pituitary mass, with the potential for fatality necessitating wide awareness and a high index of clinical suspicion given that it is usually treatable. We describe below two cases of AH within the last three months at our centre, which were treated with different regimens and produced good endocrine outcomes.

Learning points

  • AH is a new and defined clinical entity occurring as a side effect of ipilimumab, which enhances immune-mediated destruction of metastatic melanoma.

  • It can present insidiously and have life-threatening complications related to hypocortisolism, hence a high index of clinical suspicion must be exerted by treating physicians, and seems to result in resolution of pituitary masses and variable improvements of pituitary function.

  • Clinical improvement, radiological resolution of pituitary masses and variable normalisation of pituitary function are possible with early treatment with high-dose oral or i.v. steroids and hormone replacement therapy, although duration and dosing protocols are unclear at this stage.

  • Ipilimumab should continue to be prescribed as treatment for metastatic melanoma; however, close clinical observation of patient's progress must be maintained while they are on this drug.

  • Predictive factors for onset of AH remain unclear and it is imperative that AH is distinguished from pituitary metastases.

  • Further studies are required to determine the safety of continuing therapy with ipilimumab in patients who have developed AH while on treatment.

Open access

K Majumdar, M Barnard, S Ramachandra, M Berovic and M Powell