, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 4–12 | Cite as

Delayed hypopituitarism following Russell’s viper envenomation: a case series and literature review

  • Channabasappa ShivaprasadEmail author
  • Yalamanchi Aiswarya
  • Atluri Sridevi
  • Biswas Anupam
  • Goel Amit
  • Boppana Rakesh
  • Pulikkal A. Annie
  • Kolly Anish



Hypopituitarism (HP) is an uncommon consequence of Russell’s viper envenomation (RVE). Delayed hypopituitarism (DHP) presents months to years after recovering from snake bites (SB). The clinical presentation, manifestations, and outcomes of DHP following RVE have not been systematically studied. Here, we present a case series of HP following RVE with delayed diagnosis and conduct a literature review.


We retrospectively reviewed data of eight DHP cases and literature to outline the presentation, manifestations, hormonal profiles, and radiological features of DHP following RVE.


Three men and five women, with a mean age at diagnosis of 39.5 ± 11.6 years, were included. The mean duration between snake bite (SB) and HP diagnosis was 8.1 ± 3.6 years. Secondary hypothyroidism and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism were present in all patients. Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and secondary hypocortisolism were present in 6 (75%) patients. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed empty sella and partially empty sella in three patients each (75%). The literature review revealed additional 20 DHP cases (mean age at diagnosis 32.4 ± 10.8 years), with 65% of patients being men. Fatigue, reduced libido, and loss of weight were the commonest symptoms among men. Secondary amenorrhea, fatigue, and loss of appetite were common manifestations among women. Acute kidney injury, GHD, secondary hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, and adrenal insufficiency were reported in 75%, 79%, 95%, 100%, and 85% of patients, respectively.


DHP is an important complication of RVE, and a delay in its diagnosis is associated with significant morbidity. Patients with RVE should be followed up for a long term to identify DHP.


Russell’s viper envenomation Snake bite Hypopituitarism Delayed presentation Pituitary necrosis Amenorrhea 



We would like to acknowledge the timely help provided by Dr. Nagashree N, Intern Medical Officer at the Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre in retrieving full text manuscripts. We would also like to thank Mrs. Sumithra Selvan for her help in statistical analysis.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyVydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research CentreBangaloreIndia

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