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Jai Madhok Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

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Amy Kloosterboer Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

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Chitra Venkatasubramanian Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, California, USA

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Frederick G Mihm Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine

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Summary

We report the case of a 76-year-old male with a remote history of papillary thyroid cancer who developed severe paroxysmal headaches in the setting of episodic hypertension. Brain imaging revealed multiple lesions, initially of inconclusive etiology, but suspicious for metastatic foci. A search for the primary malignancy revealed an adrenal tumor, and biochemical testing confirmed the diagnosis of a norepinephrine-secreting pheochromocytoma. Serial imaging demonstrated multiple cerebral infarctions of varying ages, evidence of vessel narrowing and irregularities in the anterior and posterior circulations, and hypoperfusion in watershed areas. An exhaustive work-up for other etiologies of stroke including thromboembolic causes or vasculitis was unremarkable. There was resolution of symptoms, absence of new infarctions, and improvement in vessel caliber after adequate alpha-adrenergic receptor blockade for the management of pheochromocytoma. This clinicoradiologic constellation of findings suggested that the etiology of the multiple infarctions was reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS). Pheochromocytoma remains a poorly recognized cause of RCVS. Unexplained multifocal cerebral infarctions in the setting of severe hypertension should prompt the consideration of a vasoactive tumor as the driver of cerebrovascular dysfunction. A missed or delayed diagnosis has the potential for serious neurologic morbidity for an otherwise treatable condition.

Learning points:

  • The constellation of multifocal watershed cerebral infarctions of uncertain etiology in a patient with malignant hypertension should trigger the consideration of undiagnosed catecholamine secreting tumors, such as pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas.

  • Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome is a serious but reversible cerebrovascular manifestation of pheochromocytomas that may lead to strokes (ischemic and hemorrhagic), seizures, and cerebral edema.

  • Alpha-adrenergic receptor blockade can reverse cerebral vasoconstriction and prevent further cerebral ischemia and infarctions.

  • Early diagnosis of catecholamine secreting tumors has the potential for reducing neurologic morbidity and mortality in patients presenting with cerebrovascular complications.

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Tzy Harn Chua Department of Endocrinology, Changi General Hospital, Singapore

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Wann Jia Loh Department of Endocrinology, Changi General Hospital, Singapore

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Summary

Severe hyponatremia and osmotic demyelination syndrome (ODS) are opposite ends of a spectrum of emergency disorders related to sodium concentrations. Management of severe hyponatremia is challenging because of the difficulty in balancing the risk of overcorrection leading to ODS as well as under-correction causing cerebral oedema, particularly in a patient with chronic hypocortisolism and hypothyroidism. We report a case of a patient with Noonan syndrome and untreated anterior hypopituitarism who presented with symptomatic hyponatremia and developed transient ODS.

Learning points:

  • Patients with severe anterior hypopituitarism with severe hyponatremia are susceptible to the rapid rise of sodium level with a small amount of fluid and hydrocortisone.

  • These patients with chronic anterior hypopituitarism are at high risk of developing ODS and therefore, care should be taken to avoid a rise of more than 4–6 mmol/L per day.

  • Early recognition and rescue desmopressin and i.v. dextrose 5% fluids to reduce serum sodium concentration may be helpful in treating acute ODS.

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Carmina Teresa Fuss Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Stephanie Burger-Stritt Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Silke Horn Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Ann-Cathrin Koschker Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Kathrin Frey Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Almuth Meyer Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Internal Medicine, Helios Klinikum Erfurt, Erfurt, Germany

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Stefanie Hahner Division of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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Summary

Standard treatment of hypoparathyroidism consists of supplementation of calcium and vitamin D analogues, which does not fully restore calcium homeostasis. In some patients, hypoparathyroidism is refractory to standard treatment with persistent low serum calcium levels and associated clinical complications. Here, we report on three patients (58-year-old male, 52-year-old female, and 48-year-old female) suffering from severe treatment-refractory postsurgical hypoparathyroidism. Two patients had persistent hypocalcemia despite oral treatment with up to 4 µg calcitriol and up to 4 g calcium per day necessitating additional i.v. administration of calcium gluconate 2–3 times per week, whereas the third patient presented with high frequencies of hypocalcemic and treatment-associated hypercalcemic episodes. S.c. administration of rhPTH (1–34) twice daily (40 µg/day) or rhPTH (1–84) (100 µg/day) only temporarily increased serum calcium levels but did not lead to long-term stabilization. In all three cases, treatment with rhPTH (1–34) as continuous s.c. infusion via insulin pump was initiated. Normalization of serum calcium and serum phosphate levels was observed within 1 week at daily 1–34 parathyroid hormone doses of 15 µg to 29.4 µg. Oral vitamin D and calcium treatment could be stopped or reduced and regular i.v. calcium administration was no more necessary. Ongoing efficacy of this treatment has been documented for up to 7 years so far. Therefore, we conclude that hypoparathyroidism that is refractory to both conventional treatment and s.c. parathyroid hormone (single or twice daily) may be successfully treated with continuous parathyroid hormone administration via insulin pump.

Learning points:

  • Standard treatment of hypoparathyroidism still consists of administration of calcium and active vitamin D.

  • Very few patients with hypoparathyroidism also do not respond sufficiently to standard treatment or administration of s.c. parathyroid hormone once or twice daily.

  • In those cases, continuous s.c. administration of parathyroid hormone via insulin pump may represent a successful treatment alternative.

Open access
Taieb Ach Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Douai Hospital Center, Douai, France
Department of Endocrinology, University Hospital of Farhat Hached Sousse

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Perrine Wojewoda Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Douai Hospital Center, Douai, France

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Flora Toullet Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Douai Hospital Center, Douai, France

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Roxane Ducloux Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Douai Hospital Center, Douai, France

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Véronique Avérous Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Douai Hospital Center, Douai, France

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Summary

Multiple endocrine metastases are a rare but possible complication of lung adenocarcinoma (LAC). Pituitary metastasis is a rare condition with poor clinical expression. Diabetes insipidus (DI) is its most common presenting symptom. Here we report an original case of a pituitary stalk (PS) metastasis from LAC presenting as central DI followed by adrenal insufficiency (AI) from bilateral adrenal metastasis, without known evidence of the primary malignancy. A 45-year-old woman whose first clinical manifestations were polyuria and polydipsia was admitted. She was completely asymptomatic with no cough, no weight loss or anorexia. Chest radiography was normal. Brain MRI showed a thick pituitary stalk (PS). DI was confirmed by water restriction test and treated with vasopressin with great clinical results. Explorations for systemic and infectious disease were negative. Few months later, an acute AI led to discovering bilateral adrenal mass on abdominal CT. A suspicious 2.3 cm apical lung nodule was found later. Histopathological adrenal biopsy revealed an LAC. The patient received systemic chemotherapy with hormonal replacement for endocrinological failures by both vasopressin and hydrocortisone. We present this rare case of metastatic PS thickness arising from LAC associated with bilateral adrenal metastasis. Screening of patients with DI and stalk thickness for lung and breast cancer must be considered. Multiple endocrine failures as a diagnostic motive of LAC is a rare but possible circumstance.

Learning points:

  • Adrenal metastasis is a common location in lung adenocarcinoma; however, metastatic involvement of the pituitary stalk remains a rare occurrence, especially as a leading presentation to diagnose lung cancer.

  • The posterior pituitary and the infundibulum are the preferential sites for metastases, as they receive direct arterial blood supply from hypophyseal arteries.

  • Patients diagnosed with diabetes insipidus due to pituitary stalk thickness should be considered as a metastasis, after exclusion of the classical systemic and infectious diseases.

  • The diagnosis of an endocrinological metastatic primary lung adenocarcinoma for patients without respiratory symptoms is often delayed due to a lack of correlation between endocrinological symptoms and lung cancer.

  • The main originality of our case is the concomitant diagnosis of both endocrinological failures, as it was initiated with a diabetes insipidus and followed by an acute adrenal insufficiency.

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Albert S Kim Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Rashida Hakeem Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia

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Azaliya Abdullah Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia

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Amanda J Hooper School of Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA, Royal Perth Hospital and Fiona Stanley Hospital Network, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

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Michel C Tchan The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Genetic Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia

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Thushari I Alahakoon The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Institute for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia

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Christian M Girgis Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia
The University of Sydney, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, New South Wales, Australia

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Summary

A 19-year-old female presented at 25-weeks gestation with pancreatitis. She was found to have significant hypertriglyceridaemia in context of an unconfirmed history of familial hypertriglyceridaemia. This was initially managed with fasting and insulin infusion and she was commenced on conventional interventions to lower triglycerides, including a fat-restricted diet, heparin, marine oil and gemfibrozil. Despite these measures, the triglyceride levels continued to i