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Adele J Beck Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter, UK

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Venkat M Reddy Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Treliske, Truro, UK

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Tom Sulkin Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Treliske, Truro, UK

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Duncan Browne Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Treliske, Truro, UK

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Summary

Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHP) is the most common aetiology for hypercalcaemia. The incidence of PHP in pregnant women is reported to be 8/100 000 population/year. It presents a threat to the health of both mother (hyperemesis, nephrolithiasis) and fetus (fetal death, congenital malformations, and neonatal severe hypocalcaemia-induced tetany). However, there is a lack of clear guidance on the management of primary hyperparathyroidism in pregnancy. In this study, we describe the case of a 26-year-old female patient who presented with severe hypercalcaemia secondary to PHP and underwent successful parathyroid adenectomy under local anaesthesia.

Learning points

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism is a rare complication in pregnancy, but the consequences for mother and fetus can be severe.

  • A perceived risk of general anaesthesia to the fetus in the first trimester has resulted in a general consensus to delay parathyroid surgery to the second trimester when possible – although the increased risk of fetal loss may occur before planned surgery.

  • If the patient presents with severe or symptomatic hypercalcaemia, minimally invasive surgery under local anaesthetic should be considered regardless of the gestational age of the pregnancy.

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Yu-Fang Wu Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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Hui Yi Ng Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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Divya Namboodiri Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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David Lewis Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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Andrew Davidson Department of Clinical Medicine, Neurosurgery, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Peter McCallum Cancer Centre, Department of Oncology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Bernard Champion Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology
School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Veronica Preda Department of Clinical Medicine, Endocrinology

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Summary

Thyrotropinomas are an uncommon cause of hyperthyroidism and are exceedingly rarely identified during pregnancy, with limited evidence to guide management. Most commonly they present as macroadenomas and may cause symptoms of mass effect including headache, visual field defects and hypopituitarism. We present a case of a 35-year-old woman investigated for headaches in whom a 13 mm thyrotropinoma was found. In the lead-up to planned trans-sphenoidal surgery (TSS), she spontaneously conceived and surgery was deferred, as was pharmacotherapy, at her request. The patient was closely monitored through her pregnancy by a multi-disciplinary team and delivered without complication. Pituitary surgery was performed 6 months post-partum. Isolated secondary hypothyroidism was diagnosed postoperatively and replacement thyroxine was commenced. Histopathology showed a double lesion with predominant pituitary transcription factor-1 positive, steroidogenic factor negative plurihormonal adenoma and co-existent mixed thyroid-stimulating hormone, growth hormone, lactotroph and follicle-stimulating hormone staining with a Ki-67 of 1%. This case demonstrates a conservative approach to thyrotropinoma in pregnancy with a successful outcome. This highlights the need to consider the timing of intervention with careful consideration of risks to mother and fetus.

Learning points

  • Thyrotropinomas are a rare cause of secondary hyperthyroidism. Patients may present with hyperthyroidism or symptoms of mass effect, including headaches or visual disturbance.

  • Thyrotropinoma in pregnancy presents a number of pituitary-related risks including pituitary apoplexy and compression of local structures.

  • Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy raises the risk of complications including spontaneous abortion, preeclampsia, low birthweight and premature labour.

  • Timing of medical and surgical therapies must be carefully considered. A conservative approach requires careful monitoring in case emergent intervention is required.

Open access
Matthew J Verheyden Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Natassia Rodrigo Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Nepean Hospital, Kingswood, New South Wales, Australia

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Anthony J Gill Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
NSW Health Pathology, Department of Anatomical Pathology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia

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Sarah J Glastras Department of Diabetes, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia
Cancer Diagnosis and Pathology Group, Kolling Institute, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is a rare and chronic disease characterised by yellow-brown, atrophic, telangiectatic plaques usually located on the lower extremities, with pathological features of collagen necrobiosis and dermal inflammation. Most cases are seen in those with diabetes mellitus, particularly type 1 diabetes (T1DM), and many without diabetes have evidence of abnormal glucose tolerance or family history of autoimmune disease. In this study, we describe four patients with NL and T1DM. A common theme is late identification and delay in diagnosis. Hence, we discuss the clinical features, need for clinicopathological correlation, and the management and prognostic implications for this distinctive entity. While most remain relatively asymptomatic, others progress to debilitating disease with pruritus, dysesthesia, and pain. Pain is often intense in the presence of ulcerated plaques, a morbid complication of NL. Diagnosis requires the integration of both clinical and histopathological findings. NL has proven a challenging condition to treat, and despite the numerous therapeutic modalities available, there is no standard of care. Hence, in this study, we provide an overview of current management strategies available for NL.

Learning points

  • Necrobiosis lipoidica (NL) is classically seen in patients with type 1 diabetes.

  • Koebner phenomenon, defined as the appearance of new skin lesions on previously unaffected skin secondary to trauma, is a well-recognised feature in NL.

  • Background skin phototype contributes to variable yellow appearance of lesions in NL.

  • Diagnosis of NL requires careful clinicopathological correlation.

  • NL is a chronic disease often refractory to treatment leading to significant morbidity for the patient and a management conundrum for the multidisciplinary healthcare team.

  • No standard therapeutic regimen has been established for the management of NL.

Open access
Butheinah A Al-Sharafi Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sana’a University, Sana’a, Yemen

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Faiza Askar Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sana’a University, Sana’a, Yemen

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Ahmed A Qais Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sana’a University, Sana’a, Yemen

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Summary

A 38-year-old female was initially seen in the intensive care unit after severe postpartum hemorrhage. She was initially diagnosed to have Sheehan’s syndrome and after discharge, she was diagnosed to have a vesicovaginal fistula which initially caused a delay in diagnosing diabetes insipidus in the patient because she was having urinary incontinence. The patient had the vesicovaginal fistula repaired and was on replacement with levothyroxine, prednisone, and desmopressin. Years after her diagnosis, the patient experienced recurrent episodes of hyponatremia in the setting of desmopressin therapy. This case highlights the challenges of diagnosing diabetes insipidus in a patient with Sheehan’s syndrome and a vesicovaginal fistula, as well as the long-term management of central diabetes insipidus in a resource-limited setting.

Learning points

  • Sheehan’s syndrome is rarely associated with diabetes insipidus, and in our patient, it was initially missed due to a vesicovaginal fistula which caused urinary incontinence.

  • Water intoxication is more common in young children and older adults but can occur years after initiating treatment with desmopressin in adults and should be kept in mind when treating patients with hyponatremia who have hypopituitarism associated with diabetes insipidus.

  • Water intoxication is much more common in patients with diabetes insipidus being treated with intranasal desmopressin than in those using the oral preparations.

Open access
Ulla Kampmann Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus, Aarhus University Hospital, Hedeager, Aarhus N, Denmark

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Per Glud Ovesen Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Aarhus University Hospital, Palle Juul Jensens Boulevard, Aarhus N, Denmark

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Niels Møller Medical Research Laboratories, Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Aarhus University Hospital, Palle Juul Jensens Boulevard, Aarhus N, Denmark

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Jens Fuglsang Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Aarhus University Hospital, Palle Juul Jensens Boulevard, Aarhus N, Denmark

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Summary

During pregnancy, maternal tissues become increasingly insensitive to insulin in order to liberate nutritional supply to the growing fetus, but occasionally insulin resistance in pregnancy becomes severe and the treatment challenging. We report a rare and clinically difficult case of extreme insulin resistance with daily insulin requirements of 1420 IU/day during pregnancy in an obese 36-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes (T2D) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The woman was referred to the outpatient clinic at gestational week 12 + 2 with a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) at 59 mmol/mol. Insulin treatment was initiated immediately using Novomix 30, and the doses were progressively increased, peaking at 1420 units/day at week 34 + 4. At week 35 + 0, there was an abrupt fall in insulin requirements, but with no signs of placental insufficiency. At week 36 + 1 a, healthy baby with no hypoglycemia was delivered by cesarean section. Blood samples were taken late in pregnancy to search for causes of extreme insulin resistance and showed high levels of C-peptide, proinsulin, insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), mannan-binding-lectin (MBL) and leptin. CRP was mildly elevated, but otherwise, levels of inflammatory markers were normal. Insulin antibodies were undetectable, and no mutations in the insulin receptor (INSR) gene were found. The explanation for the severe insulin resistance, in this case, can be ascribed to PCOS, obesity, profound weight gain, hyperleptinemia and inactivity. This is the first case of extreme insulin resistance during pregnancy, with insulin requirements close to 1500 IU/day with a successful outcome, illustrating the importance of a close interdisciplinary collaboration between patient, obstetricians and endocrinologists.

Learning points

  • This is the first case of extreme insulin resistance during pregnancy, with insulin requirements of up to 1420 IU/day with a successful outcome without significant fetal macrosomia and hypoglycemia.

  • Obesity, PCOS, T2D and high levels of leptin and IGF-1 are predictors of severe insulin resistance in pregnancy.

  • A close collaboration between patient, obstetricians and endocrinologists is crucial for tailoring the best possible treatment for pregnant women with diabetes, beneficial for both the mother and her child.

Open access
Natassia Rodrigo Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Northern Clinical School, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia
Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Diana Learoyd Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Northern Clinical School, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia
Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Sarah J Glastras Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
Northern Clinical School, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Australia
Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

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Summary

Hypercalcaemia in pregnancy is uncommon, with associated adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes for both the mother and the fetus. Determination of causality is central to its management. Diagnostic imaging techniques are limited during pregnancy and the diagnosis is made more complex by physiological changes in calcium and vitamin D homeostasis in pregnancy. Further, therapeutic options are limited due to safety considerations for the pregnant woman and the developing foetus. Three cases of hypercalcaemia in pregnancy will be presented, highlighting the distinct aetiologies and management strategies for hypercalcaemia in pregnancy and the importance of early measurement of serum calcium in pregnancy screening.

Learning points

  • There are complex physiological changes in calcium balance in pregnancy, including increased calcium intestinal absorption and renal excretion.

  • Hypercalcaemia in pregnancy is uncommon but has important potential maternal and foetal complications, making a compelling argument for routine antenatal, calcium screening.

  • Identifying the cause of hypercalcaemia in pregnancy can be challenging due to the complex placental interplay in biochemical test interpretation and due to safety constraints restricting imaging and surgery.

  • Acute medical management of hypercalcaemia must be considered in the context of both maternal and foetal well-being, along with gestational age and specific consideration for the safety of the developing fetus in late gestation.

Open access
Sarah Ying Tse Tan Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Swee Ping Teh Department of Renal Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Manish Kaushik Department of Renal Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Tze Tein Yong Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Shivani Durai Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Claudia Jong-Chie Tien Department of Anaesthesiology and Surgical Intensive Care, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Daphne Su-Lyn Gardner Department of Endocrinology, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

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Summary

Gestational hypertriglyceridemia-induced pancreatitis is associated with significant maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. We report a case of gestational hypertriglyceridemia-induced pancreatitis in a primigravida at 31-weeks gestation, complicated by impending preterm labor and metabolic acidosis requiring hemodialysis. This was successfully managed with therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE), followed by i.v. insulin, low-fat diet, and omega-3. Triglyceride levels stabilized after TPE and the patient underwent an uncomplicated term delivery. In pregnancy, elevated estrogen and insulin resistance exacerbate hypertriglyceridemia. Management is challenging as risks and benefits of treatment options need to be weighed against fetal wellbeing. We discuss management options including a review of previous case reports detailing TPE use, dietary optimization, and delivery timing. This case emphasizes the importance of multidisciplinary care to optimize maternal and fetal outcomes.

Learning points

  • Gestational hypertriglyceridemia-induced pancreatitis has high morbidity.

  • A multidisciplinary team approach is a key as maternal and fetal needs must be addressed.

  • Rapid lowering of triglycerides is crucial and can be achieved successfully and safely with plasma exchange.

  • A low-fat diet while ensuring adequate nutrition in pregnancy is important.

  • Timing of delivery requires consideration of fetal maturity and risk of recurrent pancreatitis.

Open access
Chi-Hong Ng Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

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Wing-Sun Chow Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

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Karen Siu-Ling Lam Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

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Chi-Ho Lee Department of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China

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Summary

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)-secreting pituitary adenoma (TSHoma) is an uncommon cause of thyrotoxicosis, and is even rarer when found during pregnancy. Our patient presented with thyrotoxicosis accompanied by an inappropriately normal TSH level at 10 weeks of gestation during work-up of surgical termination of pregnancy (STOP). Subsequent investigations performed after STOP confirmed the presence of a TSH-secreting pituitary macroadenoma. She was initially treated with anti-thyroid drugs for biochemical control, followed by trans-sphenoidal surgery after STOP had been performed. Her thyroid function completely normalized after the trans-sphenoidal surgery. Our case illustrated the importance of recognizing the syndrome of inappropriate TSH secretion and highlighted several pregnancy-related aspects in the diagnosis and management of TSHoma during pregnancy.

Learning points:

  • This case report illustrates the need to raise awareness in recognizing the syndrome of inappropriate TSH secretion.

  • Illustrate the different hormone tests available for reaching the diagnosis of TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma.

  • Highlight the physiological changes in the thyroid status during pregnancy and the importance of using trimester-specific reference ranges for assessment of thyroid function during pregnancy.

  • Describe the challenges in the management of TSH-secreting pituitary adenoma during pregnancy.

Open access
Sofia Pilar Ildefonso-Najarro Division of Endocrinology, Guillermo Almenara Irigoyen National Hospital, Lima, Peru

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Esteban Alberto Plasencia-Dueñas Division of Endocrinology, Guillermo Almenara Irigoyen National Hospital, Lima, Peru

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Cesar Joel Benites-Moya National University of Trujillo, School of Medicine, Trujillo, Peru

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Jose Carrion-Rojas Metabolism and Reproduction Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Guillermo Almenara Irigoyen National Hospital, Lima, Peru

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Marcio Jose Concepción-Zavaleta Division of Endocrinology, Guillermo Almenara Irigoyen National Hospital, Lima, Peru

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Summary

Cushing’s syndrome is an endocrine disorder that causes anovulatory infertility secondary to hypercortisolism; therefore, pregnancy rarely occurs during its course. We present the case of a 24-year-old, 16-week pregnant female with a 10-month history of unintentional weight gain, dorsal gibbus, nonpruritic comedones, hirsutism and hair loss. Initial biochemical, hormonal and ultrasound investigations revealed hypokalemia, increased nocturnal cortisolemia and a right adrenal mass. The patient had persistent high blood pressure, hyperglycemia and hypercortisolemia. She was initially treated with antihypertensive medications and insulin therapy. Endogenous Cushing’s syndrome was confirmed by an abdominal MRI that demonstrated a right adrenal adenoma. The patient underwent right laparoscopic adrenalectomy and anatomopathological examination revealed an adrenal adenoma with areas of oncocytic changes. Finally, antihypertensive medication was progressively reduced and glycemic control and hypokalemia reversal were achieved. Long-term therapy consisted of low-dose daily prednisone. During follow-up, despite favorable outcomes regarding the patient’s Cushing’s syndrome, stillbirth was confirmed at 28 weeks of pregnancy. We discuss the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of Cushing’s syndrome to prevent severe maternal and fetal complications.

Learning points:

  • Pregnancy can occur, though rarely, during the course of Cushing’s syndrome.

  • Pregnancy is a transient physiological state of hypercortisolism and it must be differentiated from Cushing’s syndrome based on clinical manifestations and laboratory tests.

  • The diagnosis of Cushing’s syndrome during pregnancy may be challenging, particularly in the second and third trimesters because of the changes in the maternal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.

  • Pregnancy during the course of Cushing’s syndrome is associated with severe maternal and fetal complications; therefore, its early diagnosis and treatment is critical.

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Pedro Marques Department of Endocrinology, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield, London, UK

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Nicola Tufton Department of Endocrinology, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield, London, UK

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Satya Bhattacharya Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery Unit, The Royal London Hospital, London, UK

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Mark Caulfield Clinical Pharmacology, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

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Scott A Akker Department of Endocrinology, St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, West Smithfield, London, UK

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Summary

Mineralocorticoid hypertension is most often caused by autonomous overproduction of aldosterone, but excess of other mineralocorticoid precursors can lead to a similar presentation. 11-Deoxycorticosterone (DOC) excess, which can occur in 11-β hydroxylase or 17-α hydroxylase deficiencies, in DOC-producing adrenocortical tumours or in patients taking 11-β hydroxylase inhibitors, may cause mineralocorticoid hypertension. We report a 35-year-old woman who in the third trimester of pregnancy was found to have a large adrenal mass on routine obstetric ultrasound. On referral to our unit, persistent hypertension and long-standing hypokalaemia was noted, despite good compliance with multiple antihypertensives. Ten years earlier, she had hypertension noted in pregnancy which had persisted after delivery. A MRI scan confirmed the presence of a 12 cm adrenal mass and biochemistry revealed high levels of DOC and low/normal renin, aldosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone, with normal catecholamine levels. The patient was treated with antihypertensives until obstetric delivery, following which she underwent an adrenalectomy. Histology confirmed a large adrenal cortical neoplasm of uncertain malignant potential. Postoperatively, blood pressure and serum potassium normalised, and the antihypertensive medication was stopped. Over 10 years of follow-up, she remains asymptomatic with normal DOC measurements. This case should alert clinicians to the possibility of a diagnosis of a DOC-producing adrenal tumours in patients with adrenal nodules and apparent mineralocorticoid hypertension in the presence of low or normal levels of aldosterone. The associated diagnostic and management challenges are discussed.

Learning points:

  • Hypermineralocorticoidism is characterised by hypertension, volume expansion and hypokalaemic alkalosis and is most commonly due to overproduction of aldosterone. However, excess of other mineralocorticoid products, such as DOC, lead to the same syndrome but with normal or low aldosterone levels.

  • The differential diagnosis of resistant hypertension with low renin and low/normal aldosterone includes congenital adrenal hyperplasia, syndrome of apparent mineralocorticoid excess, Cushing’s syndrome, Liddle’s syndrome and 11-deoxycorticosterone-producing tumours.

  • DOC is one intermediate product in the mineralocorticoid synthesis with weaker activity than aldosterone. However, marked DOC excess seen in 11-β hydroxylase or 17-α hydroxylase deficiencies in DOC-producing adrenocortical tumours or in patients taking 11-β hydroxylase inhibitors, may cause mineralocorticoid hypertension.

  • Excessive production of DOC in adrenocortical tumours has been attributed to reduced activity of the enzymes 11-β hydroxylase and 17-α hydroxylase and increased activity of 21-α hydroxylase.

  • The diagnosis of DOC-producing adrenal tumours is challenging because of its rarity and poor availability of DOC laboratory assays.

Open access