Acute Headache in Pregnancy

M. Angela O’Neal

in Women's Neurology

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print April 2017 | ISBN: 9780190609917
Published online May 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190609948 | DOI:

Series: What Do I Do Now

Acute Headache in Pregnancy

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  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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The case illustrates the characteristics of pituitary apoplexy. This anatomy of the pituitary, which predisposes to the condition, is described. The most common clinical feature is headache. Visual disturbance related to optic chiasm or optic nerve involvement is also common. Pituitary apoplexy is a neuroendocrine emergency. The most important hormone involved is adrenocorticotropic hormone, ACTH. However, there are often multiple hormonal deficiencies: growth hormone, hypothyroidism, and hypogonadotropic deficiency. A high prolactin level may reflect a prolactinoma or be due to hypothalamic inhibition. Diabetes insipidus (DI) is also common. The most urgent issue in treating pituitary apoplexy is prompt assessment of fluid and electrolyte imbalance and the replacement of corticosteroids.

Chapter.  763 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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