Hypophysitis Due to Paranasal Sinusitis: Neurosurgical Perspective from Developing World
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BACKGROUND: Sinusitis is a common clinical condition, but sphenoid sinusitis is a less common form and even rarer is hypophysitis as a complication of the latter. Clinically, hypophysitis may mimic a pituitary neoplasm in presenting with mass effect and pituitary hormone dysfunction. CASE DESCRIPTION: We present 5 cases of sinusitis-related hypophysitis treated at the Royal Care International Hospital in Khartoum, Sudan. Clinical symptoms at presentation included headache, fever, ptosis, ophthalmoplegia, and history of sinusitis with running nose (nasal discharge). None of the patients were immunocompromised or showed signs of meningitis. Laboratory tests indicated neutrophilia and elevated inflammatory indices, namely C-reactive protein and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. There was also a disturbance of the hypothalamic-pituitary hormone axis, particularly impaired cortisol level. Magnetic resonance imaging scans on all patients revealed swollen masses in the pituitary fossa and enhancement of the sellar region and paranasal sinuses, especially the sphenoid sinus. All cases were empirically treated with hydrocortisone and amoxicillin-clavulanate, resulting in reversal of symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Sinusitis is common in tropical regions where the climate is usually warm and often hot and dry. Here, the condition is considered a common incidental finding in magnetic resonance imaging examinations done for various indications. Hence it is not considered to be a serious health problem. Though our cohort of cases is small, we emphasize the importance of keeping a high index of suspicion for the diagnosis of hypophysitis in relevant case settings. This would help make an early diagnosis and ensure appropriate medical, perhaps nonsurgical, management.
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