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Sheehan’s syndrome as a rare cause of anaemia secondary to hypopituitarism

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Although its exact mechanism is unclear, anaemia is well recognised as a feature of hypopituitarism; and anaemia is associated with Sheehan’s syndrome (SS). We aimed to evaluate the frequency and severity of anaemia and other haematological changes among patients with Sheehan’s syndrome, in comparison with healthy controls. Sixty-five SS patients and 55 age-matched female healthy controls were included. Biochemical and hormonal assessments and haematological evaluations were carried out, and groups were compared. The mean number of red blood cells, as well as mean haemoglobin, iron and erythropoietin levels, total iron-binding capacity and transferrin saturation were all significantly lower in SS patients compared to controls. SS patients had significantly higher rates of anaemia (80.0% vs. 25.5%, p = 0.0001), iron deficiency (44.6% vs. 5.4%, p = 0.001), leukopenia (20.0% vs. 5.4%, p = 0.015), thrombocytopenia (9.2% vs. 0.0%, p = 0.028) and bicytopenia (21.5% vs. 1.8%, p = 0.001) compared to controls. Anaemic SS patients had normochromic-normocytic anaemia (55%) or hypochromic-microcytic anaemia (45%). Anaemia is frequently associated with Sheehan’s syndrome and responds to appropriate replacement therapy. Hypopituitarism should be considered as a possible cause of anaemia, and a hormone examination should be undertaken promptly, particularly in patients with anaemia resistant to therapy and/or with a history suggestive of Sheehan’s syndrome.

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Correspondence to Deniz Gokalp.

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Gokalp, D., Tuzcu, A., Bahceci, M. et al. Sheehan’s syndrome as a rare cause of anaemia secondary to hypopituitarism. Ann Hematol 88, 405–410 (2009).

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