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Pituitary infarction

  • Alternative Names

    Pituitary apoplexy


    Treatment for acute infarction may require surgery to relieve pressure on the pituitary and improve vision symptoms. Severe cases need emergency surgery.

    Immediate treatment with adrenal replacement hormones (glucocorticoids) is essential. Other hormones will be replaced, including:

    • Sex hormones (estrogen/testosterone)
    • Thyroid hormone

    Evidence is also growing for the need to replace growth hormone.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    Acute pituitary infarction can be life-threatening. The outlook is good for people who have chronic deficiency that is diagnosed and treated.


    Complications of untreated pituitary infarction can include:

    • Adrenal crisis
    • Vision loss

    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:

    • Eye weakness
    • Headache
    • Low blood pressure (which can cause fainting)
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting

    Be especially concerned if you develop these symptoms and you have already been diagnosed with a pituitary tumor.