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Open access

Sofia Pilar Ildefonso-Najarro, Esteban Alberto Plasencia-Dueñas, Cesar Joel Benites-Moya, Jose Carrion-Rojas, and Marcio Jose Concepción-Zavaleta

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.
Open access

Marcio José Concepción-Zavaleta, Sofía Pilar Ildefonso-Najarro, Esteban Alberto Plasencia-Dueñas, María Alejandra Quispe-Flores, Cristian David Armas-Flórez, and Laura Esther Luna-Victorio

Summary

Type B insulin resistance syndrome (TBIR) is a rare autoimmune disease caused by antibodies against the insulin receptor. It should be considered in patients with dysglycaemia and severe insulin resistance when other more common causes have been ruled out. We report a case of a 72-year-old male with a 4-year history of type 2 diabetes who presented with hypercatabolism, vitiligo, acanthosis nigricans, and hyperglycaemia resistant to massive doses of insulin (up to 1000 U/day). Detection of anti-insulin receptor antibodies confirmed TBIR. The patient received six pulses of methylprednisolone and daily treatment with cyclophosphamide for 6 months. Response to treatment was evident after the fourth pulse of methylprednisolone, as indicated by weight gain, decreased glycosylated haemoglobin and decreased requirement of exogenous insulin that was later discontinued due to episodes of hypoglycaemia. Remission was eventually achieved and the patient is currently asymptomatic, does not require insulin therapy, has normal glycaemia and is awaiting initiation of maintenance therapy with azathioprine. Thus, TBIR remitted without the use of rituximab. This case highlights the importance of diagnosis and treatment in a timely fashion, as well as the significance of clinical features, available laboratory findings and medication. Large controlled studies are required to standardise a therapeutic protocol, particularly in resource-constrained settings where access to rituximab is limited.

Learning points:

  • Type B insulin resistance syndrome is a rare autoimmune disorder that should be considered in patients with dysglycaemia, severe insulin resistance and a concomitant autoimmune disease.
  • Serological confirmation of antibodies against the insulin receptor is not necessary in all cases due to the high associated mortality without timely treatment.
  • Although there is no standardised immunosuppressive treatment, a protocol containing rituximab, cyclophosphamide and steroids has shown a significant reduction in previously reported mortality rates.
  • The present case, reports successful remission in an atypical patient using cyclophosphamide and methylprednisolone, which is an effective therapy in countries in which rituximab is not covered by health insurance.
  • When there is improvement in the hypercatabolic phase, the insulin dose should be reduced and/or discontinued to prevent hypoglycaemia; a mild postprandial hyperglycaemic state should be acceptable.