Incidence and prevalence of hypopituitarism are estimated to be 4-2 per 100 000 per year and 45-5 per 100 000, respectively. Although the clinical symptoms of this disorder are usually unspecific, it can cause life-threatening events and lead to increased mortality. Current research has refined the diagnosis of hypopituitarism. Identification of growth hormone and corticotropin deficiency generally requires a stimulation test, whereas other deficiencies can be detected by basal hormones in combination with clinical judgment. Newly developed formulations of replacement hormones are convenient and physiological. Work has shown that many patients with brain damage -- such as traumatic brain injury or aneurysmal subarachnoid haemorrhage -- are at high risk of (sometimes unrecognised) hypopituitarism. Thus, a much increased true prevalence of this disorder needs to be assumed. As a result, hypopituitarism is not a rare disease and should be recognised by the general practitioner.
Schneider, HJ., Aimaretti, G., Kreitschmann-Andermahr, I., Stalla, G-K. and Ghigo, E. (2007) Hypopituitarism [seminar]. Lancet 369:1461-70.Back