Hypopituitarism natural history, complications and prognosis

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Hypopituitarism Microchapters


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Differentiating Hypopituitarism from other Diseases

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Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ahmed Elsaiey, MBBCH [2]


The natural history of hypopituitarism depends on the severity of damage leading to partial or complete hormonal deficiency. If left untreated, hypopituitarism can lead to critical consequences. Complications of hypopituitarism include adrenal crisis, osteoporosis, electrolyte abnormalities, and diabetes mellitus. Hypopituitarism is often associated with vascular conditions. Hypopituitarism has a good prognosis as long as the hormonal replacement therapy is given adequately.

Natural History

If left untreated, hypopituitarism may lead to the development of different symptoms according to the area/lobe of the pituitary gland affected and the deficient hormone. The natural history is variable and depends upon the severity of damage leading to partial or complete hormonal deficiency, age, rapidity of onset, and the underlying cause:[1]


Vasopressin deficiency

Growth hormone deficiency


Complications that can develop as a result of hypopituitarism are include:



  1. 1.0 1.1 Vance, Mary Lee (1994). "Hypopituitarism". New England Journal of Medicine. 330 (23): 1651–1662. doi:10.1056/NEJM199406093302306. ISSN 0028-4793.
  2. Klibanski, Anne; Neer, Robert M.; Beitins, Inese Z.; Ridgway, E. Chester; Zervas, Nicholas T.; McArthur, Janet W. (1980). "Decreased Bone Density in Hyperprolactinemic Women". New England Journal of Medicine. 303 (26): 1511–1514. doi:10.1056/NEJM198012253032605. ISSN 0028-4793.
  3. Greenspan SL, Oppenheim DS, Klibanski A (1989). "Importance of gonadal steroids to bone mass in men with hyperprolactinemic hypogonadism". Ann. Intern. Med. 110 (7): 526–31. PMID 2923387.
  4. Klibanski A, Neer RM, Beitins IZ, Ridgway EC, Zervas NT, McArthur JW (1980). "Decreased bone density in hyperprolactinemic women". N. Engl. J. Med. 303 (26): 1511–4. doi:10.1056/NEJM198012253032605. PMID 7432421.
  5. Matthews, Karen A.; Meilahn, Elaine; Kuller, Lewis H.; Kelsey, Sheryl F.; Caggiula, Arlene W.; Wing, Rena R. (1989). "Menopause and Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease". New England Journal of Medicine. 321 (10): 641–646. doi:10.1056/NEJM198909073211004. ISSN 0028-4793.
  6. Matthews KA, Meilahn E, Kuller LH, Kelsey SF, Caggiula AW, Wing RR (1989). "Menopause and risk factors for coronary heart disease". N. Engl. J. Med. 321 (10): 641–6. doi:10.1056/NEJM198909073211004. PMID 2488072.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Rosén T, Bengtsson BA (1990). "Premature mortality due to cardiovascular disease in hypopituitarism". Lancet. 336 (8710): 285–8. PMID 1973979.
  8. Merimee TJ, Hollander W, Fineberg SE (1972). "Studies of hyperlipidemia in the HGH-deficient state". Metab. Clin. Exp. 21 (11): 1053–61. PMID 4342932.
  9. Blackett PR, Weech PK, McConathy WJ, Fesmire JD (1982). "Growth hormone in the regulation of hyperlipidemia". Metab. Clin. Exp. 31 (2): 117–20. PMID 6804746.
  10. Bowlby DA, Rapaport R (2004). "Safety and efficacy of growth hormone therapy in childhood". Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2 Suppl 1: 68–77. PMID 16456485.
  11. Prabhakar VK, Shalet SM (2006). "Aetiology, diagnosis, and management of hypopituitarism in adult life". Postgrad Med J. 82 (966): 259–66. doi:10.1136/pgmj.2005.039768. PMC 2585697. PMID 16597813.
  12. Bates AS, Van't Hoff W, Jones PJ, Clayton RN (1996). "The effect of hypopituitarism on life expectancy". J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 81 (3): 1169–72. doi:10.1210/jcem.81.3.8772595. PMID 8772595.
  13. Bülow B, Hagmar L, Mikoczy Z, Nordström CH, Erfurth EM (1997). "Increased cerebrovascular mortality in patients with hypopituitarism". Clin. Endocrinol. (Oxf). 46 (1): 75–81. PMID 9059561.
  14. Nilsson B, Gustavasson-Kadaka E, Bengtsson BA, Jonsson B (2000). "Pituitary adenomas in Sweden between 1958 and 1991: incidence, survival, and mortality". J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 85 (4): 1420–5. doi:10.1210/jcem.85.4.6498. PMID 10770176.
  15. Tomlinson JW, Holden N, Hills RK, Wheatley K, Clayton RN, Bates AS, Sheppard MC, Stewart PM (2001). "Association between premature mortality and hypopituitarism. West Midlands Prospective Hypopituitary Study Group". Lancet. 357 (9254): 425–31. PMID 11273062.

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