All cases of pituitary abscesses (19 patients) reported in the literature since 1970 are reviewed. Based on the data available, it is suggested that a pituitary abscess is not a bacterial infection as commonly assumed. Probably, it represents a normal tissue reaction to an infarction of a pituitary adenoma. The frequent association with negative cultures from the abscesses, previous sterile meningitis and endocrine disturbances, and concurrent rhinorrhoea are well explained in this way.
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