Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 152, Issue 5, pp 749–761 | Cite as

Pituitary apoplexy: an overview of 186 cases published during the last century

  • Mehmet Turgut
  • Yelda Özsunar
  • Sema Başak
  • Engin Güney
  • Erkin Kır
  • İbrahim Meteoğlu
Review Article



Pituitary apoplexy is a rare and life-threatening complication occurring in 0.6–10.5% of all cases of pituitary adenomas. Although the association between pituitary apoplexy and visual dysfunction has been recognized for a long time, the optimal management of this problem still remains controversial. The purpose of this overview was to present the surgical experience by analyzing the literature on the management of pituitary apoplexy for better treatment of these cases.

Materials and method

To establish a new guideline for the surgical treatment of this entity, publications reported during the last century and databases containing medical literature were analyzed. In addition, an illustrative case with pituitary apoplexy presenting with complaints of sudden onset severe headache associated with nausea, vomiting, and a sudden loss of vision was described. In fact, the experience in our complicated patient prompted us to review the available literature on the management of pituitary apoplexy to date.


Based on an overview of 186 cases of apoplectic pituitary adenoma presenting with monocular or binocular blindness, we highlight the importance of correct diagnosis and an early, but not necessarily emergency, surgery within the first week of admission to optimize visual outcome of such patients. The illustrative case further exemplifies the value of close interaction between members of the management team for optimal outcome.


Pituitary tumor Endoscopy Pituitary apoplexy Transsphenoidal surgery Visual loss 



We wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to Dr. Mete Önde for his assistance during statistical analysis of the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehmet Turgut
    • 1
    • 7
  • Yelda Özsunar
    • 2
  • Sema Başak
    • 3
  • Engin Güney
    • 4
  • Erkin Kır
    • 5
  • İbrahim Meteoğlu
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryAdnan Menderes University HospitalAydınTurkey
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyAdnan Menderes University HospitalAydınTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Throat, Nose, and EarAdnan Menderes University HospitalAydınTurkey
  4. 4.Department of EndocrinologyAdnan Menderes University HospitalAydınTurkey
  5. 5.Department of OphthalmologyAdnan Menderes University HospitalAydınTurkey
  6. 6.Department of PathologyAdnan Menderes University HospitalAydınTurkey
  7. 7.Cumhuriyet MahallesiAdnan Menderes BulvarıAydınTurkey

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