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Traumatic brain injury and hypopituitarism | ACNR

Traumatic brain injury and hypopituitarism

Posted in Australia/New Zealand,Medical Assessment Article on 2nd Might 2019

Sarah Leeder BSc MBBS (Hons) MRCP MRCGP is a Senior Medical Officer at The Townsville Hospital, Queensland, Australia. She graduated from St Georges Hospital Medical Faculty with a first-class degree and with distinction. She is dual educated in each common drugs and common follow and maintains an curiosity in complicated medical comorbidity. Sarah can also be concerned in leadership and commissioning having completed a Postgraduate Certificates at the University of Brighton with distinction, her work targeted on affected person engagement and person-centred care.

Correspondence to: [email protected]
Battle of interest assertion: None declared.
Provenance and peer assessment: Submitted and externally reviewed.
Date first submitted: 4/10/18
Acceptance date after peer evaluation: 16/2/19
To quote: Leeder S. ACNR 2019;18(three):6-9.
Revealed online: 2/5/19


  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is widespread and related to vital well being and social care costs
  • Submit traumatic hypopituitarism (PTHP) happens in approximately 1 / 4 of all patients with TBI and could also be a transient phenomenon
  • New steerage revealed in 2017 advocate that each one persons admitted to hospital for more than forty-eight hours with TBI ought to have a pituitary display three to six months following injury
  • All patients admitted with TBI ought to be screened if symptomatic in any part submit injury
  • Restricted affected person schooling and assets, problems with the first and secondary care interface and the challenges of providing integrated care might impression access to screening for PTHP.


Proof demonstrates that the prevalence of hypopituitarism after traumatic brain injury (TBI) is larger than previously anticipated and results in vital morbidity. Given the prevalence of TBI, there could also be a big pool of patients with undiagnosed hypopituitarism. This places an emphasis on screening to detect the illness and deal with it accordingly, as highlighted in steerage revealed in 2017. The evaluation discusses hypopituitarism following TBI and analyses the potential impression of restricted patient schooling and assets and how present working follow might impression on screening.


The incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is variable worldwide. This is probably because of population based mostly traits, fluctuations in methodological reporting and inclusion standards but it’s more likely to be inside the area of 200 to 235/100 000 per yr based mostly on systematic evaluations of European and North American populations.1,2 In England and Wales, approximately 1.4 million sufferers per yr attend hospital following head injury and it’s the most typical explanation for demise beneath the age of 40 years.three The sequela of TBI is extensive ranging and consists of long-term bodily, cognitive, and psychological impairments with related disability.5 Furthermore, TBI is associated with a big well being and social care value.6,7 Because of its impression on society it’s crucial that morbidity associated with TBI is recognised and handled to scale back the burden of this widespread and typically life altering situation.5

In recent times, there was an growing emphasis on hypopituitarism complicating the presentation of TBI.8,9 It’s noteworthy that there’s marked disparity in reporting the incidence of post-traumatic hypopituitarism (PTHP). This is, again, resulting from methodological variance, using totally different screening methods including static and dynamic exams and alternating interpretations of results.10 Which means the true prevalence is troublesome to find out, nevertheless systematic critiques and meta-analyses have purported the determine to be in the region of 26% to 28%.10,11 Moreover, PTHP can present years after injury underscoring the significance of efficient screening.12 In 2017, the British Neurotrauma Group launched welcome steerage relating to screening for PTHP in persons with TBI.13


The classification of PTHP may be described in accordance with anatomical definitions and in time. Firstly, anterior and posterior pituitary dysfunction has been depicted. Secondly, the temporal relationship to the preliminary TBI has been described.13 Shows of PTHP can happen within the acute setting, which is most commonly thought-about as less than one month (but often inside seven days) after injury. The continual part represents the time period after four weeks.13 Remoted hormone insufficiencies are more prevalent than a number of co-existing endocrinopathies.14

Contemplating anterior pituitary dysfunction somatotropin and gonadotropin deficiencies are commonest, adopted by corticotropin and thyrotropin deficiency. The doubtless life threatening nature of inadequate corticotrophins and impending adrenal insufficiency spotlight the medical relevance of screening. Nevertheless, it isn’t solely acute life threatening problems that influence on perform and high quality of life.14,15

With respect to posterior dysfunction, the presentation of diabetes insipidus is commonest, typically transient and could be challenging to diagnose. Again, there’s vast variability within the reported prevalence reflecting variations in screening and the difficulties of building a analysis within the acute part.16,17 Nevertheless, the presentation is associated with different pituitary deficits16,18 and analysis in the early restoration part publish TBI might alert clinicians to be aware of symptomatology in keeping with anterior pituitary dysfunction presenting at a later stage in restoration.

Signs, applicable investigations and remedies are outlined in Desk 1 and Table 2.20

Danger elements

Quite a few elements are implicated as danger elements for PTHP. These embrace the severity of the brain injury in response to the Glasgow Coma Score (GCS),20 the mechanism of injury and associated findings on cerebral imaging, pathological modifications corresponding to raised intracranial strain and affected person demographics including age and comorbidities. Nevertheless, the results of analyses of those elements are variable and the proof is inconclusive. This impacts on figuring out applicable populations to display and analysis. It is noteworthy that the numbers included in studies of such populations is relatively small in comparison with the number of patients sustaining TBI, compounding the difficulties in deciphering outcomes and danger elements.1-7

British Neurotrauma Group Steerage (BNGG) 2017

The BNGG supplies a comprehensive evaluate of this necessary matter and the suggestions search a uniform strategy to follow. Algorithms for screening within the acute and persistent part are clear and concise.

In summary, all individuals admitted to hospital with TBI, whose admission time is bigger than forty eight hours must be screened for pituitary dysfunction at three to six months publish injury.13 Blood checks including thyroid perform checks (TFTs), 0900 cortisol, urea, creatinine, electrolytes, luteinizing hormone and follicular stimulating hormone, testosterone, intercourse hormone binding globulin and oestrodiol as age/intercourse applicable ought to be carried out. Because of the challenges of progress hormone testing, a referral to the Endocrinology staff is proposed to assist in the analysis of progress hormone deficiency.13 Any individual, no matter their presenting historical past of TBI ought to be screened in the acute and persistent part if they are symptomatic13 (see Desk 1 and Table 2 for widespread symptoms).

Table 2 - Posterior Ppituitary deficiency

Discussion within the context of present literature

It’s clear from the BNGG steerage that individuals applicable for screening will current and have their care coordinated by numerous departments and specialty groups.21.22 Thus, screening will require co-ordination and applicable communication in main and secondary care settings. It can be anticipated that the recognized considerations23,24 relating to this interface will influence on screening uptake. It follows that the drive for applicable screening on this inhabitants will must be multi-faceted. The logistical challenge of screening all eligible sufferers is critical; while BNGG is targeted primarily at neurosurgeons it’s relevant to all clinicians and allied heath professionals managing persons with TBI.13

International health literature highlights the significance of built-in care to ship wonderful health outcomes including in screening for and preventing disease.25,26 Here it is note-worthy that the BNGG steerage targets clinicians only. Regardless of this, it’s plausible to argue that an built-in strategy, involving allied well being professionals and patients and their families/ carers, will probably be very important in attaining screening to diagnose PTHP.

Past the scope of the BNGG however arguably equally necessary is contemplating schooling relating to pituitary screening with respect to the affected person and/or their family and carers. Current literature has highlighted the significance of patient centred care.27,28 It might be introduced that steerage aimed only at docs’ counters this necessary agenda. As well as, if patients and households are educated and activated as to the significance of screening then they’ve the potential to drive screening uptake and the analysis of PTHP.29-32 Of word, in generally searched net based mostly assets containing info designed for sufferers and households experiencing TBI recommendation relating to the potential for PTHP is restricted. Synapse33 and The Brain Injury Affiliation of America34 include very finite info relating to endocrine issues publish traumatic brain injury. Only the UK based mostly Headway website35 dedicates an entire page to PTHP. Nevertheless, other sources such because the Brain Trauma Basis36 and Brain injury Australia37 had no identifiable assets after looking the phrases similar to ‘endocrine’, ‘pituitary’ and ‘hormones’. In addition, only the knowledge obtainable on the Headway35 web site referenced discussing any symptoms with a medical practitioner and said the potential of testing. This emphasises the importance of creating applicable literature and assets with sufferers and families in mind to empower them to request screening ought to they experience signs related to PTHP.

Additionally it is necessary to think about the service implications of screening. Referrals to Endocrinology providers might improve affecting general service capacity. The BNGG recommends that Endocrinology departments should guide investigations for the analysis of progress hormone deficiency. That is particularly pertinent when contemplating the presentation of progress hormone deficiency which incorporates fatigue and psychological issues. Both of those are quite common sequelae of TBI.38-41

Given that the majority widespread hormone deficits submit TBI relate to intercourse and progress hormones it’s prudent to examine the impression of these deficiencies on sufferers and think about whether or not a patient will meet the standards for remedy when considering screening. Regarding progress hormone, which has beforehand been recognized as enhancing outcomes with respect to high quality of life and cognition submit TBI,42-44 sufferers is probably not eligible for remedy depending on Medical Commissioning Group (CCG) uptake of NICE steerage.45

Sexual dysfunction following traumatic brain injury is widespread. Nevertheless, analysis pertaining to the medical administration of this situation tends to concentrate on male sexual dysfunction fairly than issues associated to female gender. With respect to pituitary deficiency testosterone alternative must be thought-about,46 but akin to the state of affairs with progress hormone access to testosterone remedy will depend on eligibility.47 Thus screening might spotlight deficiencies that clinicians have a limited capability to treat.


The BNGG have offered commendable and welcome steerage relating to PTHP, nevertheless the practicalities of implementing screening have but to be realised. The BNGG highlights, beyond doubt, the importance of PTHP and its detection in the recovery part publish TBI. It is now the duty of everyone concerned within the management of TBI to implement the steerage to diagnose and handle this essential condition.


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