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Pituitary infarction

  • Definition

    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.

    Alternative Names

    Pituitary apoplexy

    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 immediately after childbirth, it is called Sheehan syndrome.

    Risk factors for pituitary infarction include:

    • Bleeding disorders
    • Diabetes
    • Head injury
    • Radiation to the pituitary gland
    • Use of a breathing machine

    However, in most cases, the cause is not clear.