Pituitary infarction is the death of an area of tissue in the pituitary gland, a small gland joined to the hypothalamus (part of the brain). The pituitary produces many of the hormones that control essential body processes.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Pituitary infarction is most commonly caused by bleeding due to a noncancerous tumor of the pituitary. When this bleeding occurs in a woman during or right after childbirth, it is called Sheehan syndrome.
If other missing hormones are not replaced, you may develop problems related to hypothyroidism and hypogonadism.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have any symptoms of chronic pituitary insufficiency.
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have symptoms of acute pituitary infarction, including:
Low blood pressure (which can cause fainting)
Be especially concerned if you develop these symptoms and you have already been diagnosed with a pituitary tumor.
Melmed S, Kleinberg D. Pituitary masses and tumors. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 9.
Nancy J. Rennert, MD, Chief of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Norwalk Hospital, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.