With fewer than 200 reported cases, Cushing’s syndrome (CS) in pregnancy remains a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. In normal pregnancies, misleading signs may be observed such as striae or hypokalemia, while plasma cortisol and urinary free cortisol may rise up to 2- to 3-fold. While the dexamethasone suppression test is difficult to use, reference values for salivary cortisol appear valid. Apart from gestational hypertension, differential diagnosis includes pheochromocytoma and primary aldosteronism. The predominant cause is adrenal adenoma (sometimes without decreased ACTH), rather than Cushing’s disease. There are considerable imaging pitfalls in Cushing’s disease. Aberrant receptors may, in rare cases, lead to increased cortisol production during pregnancy in response to HCG, LHRH, glucagon, vasopressin or after a meal. Adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) is rare and has poor prognosis. Active CS during pregnancy is associated with a high rate of maternal complications: hypertension or preeclampsia, diabetes, fractures; more rarely, cardiac failure, psychiatric disorders, infection and maternal death. Increased fetal morbidity includes prematurity, intrauterine growth retardation and less prevalently stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, intrauterine death and hypoadrenalism. Therapy is also challenging. Milder cases can be managed conservatively by controlling comorbidities. Pituitary or adrenal surgery should ideally be performed during the second trimester and patients should then be treated for adrenal insufficiency. Experience with anticortisolic drugs is limited. Metyrapone was found to allow control of hypercortisolism, with a risk of worsening hypertension. Cabergoline may be an alternative option. The use of other drugs is not advised because of potential teratogenicity and/or lack of information. Non-hormonal (mechanical) contraception is recommended until sustained biological remission is obtained.
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Thierry Brue, Vincent Amodru, and Frederic Castinetti
Rachel Fourneaux, Marie Vermalle, Frederique Albarel, Isabelle Morange, Thomas Graillon, Vincent Amodru, Thomas Cuny, Henry Dufour, Thierry Brue, and Frederic Castinetti
A relative can be an asset in dealing with chronic illnesses, such as acromegaly, where quality of life (QoL) is altered even after remission. However, it has been shown that quality of life of caregivers can also be impacted. Our main objective was to compare the perception of acromegaly in remission in the patient–relative dyad.
In this observational study, 27 patients in remission and relatives were first asked to complete QoL, anxiety/depression and coping strategy questionnaires. Then, the patient’s body image and self-esteem were evaluated from both the patient’s and the relative’s point of view using the same questionnaires with modified instructions.
Relatives had overall an accurate estimation of patient body image using the Figure Rating Scale by Stunkard. However, there were wide variations between the patient’s and the relative’s responses regarding self-esteem and body perception. The QoL of relatives was not altered and was significantly higher in the social domain than for the patient.
Our results show that relatives require education concerning all the steps involved in the management of acromegaly, as they likely do not fully understand the sequelae of acromegaly.
Frederic Castinetti, Philippe Caron, Isabelle Raingeard, Vincent Amodru, Frederique Albarel, Isabelle Morange, Philippe Chanson, Julie Calvo, Thomas Graillon, Karine Baumstarck, Henry Dufour, Jean Regis, and Thierry Brue
Persistent growth hormone hypersecretion can be observed in roughly 50% of patients operated for somatotroph adenomas, requiring additional treatments. Despite its proven antisecretory efficacy, the use of Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GK) is limited probably due to the lack of data on long-term side effects, including potential cognitive consequences.
The LATe Effects of Radiosurgery in Acromegaly study was a cross-sectional exposed/unexposed non-randomized study. The primary objective was to determine the long-term neurocognitive effects of GK focusing on memory, executive functions, and calculation ability. Exposed patients had been treated by GK for acromegaly at least 5 years before inclusion. Unexposed patients (paired for age) had to be cured or controlled at last follow-up without any radiation technique. Patients of both groups were cured or controlled at the last follow-up.
Sixty-four patients were evaluated (27 exposed and 37 unexposed). Mean follow-up after GK was 13 ± 6 years (including 24 patients followed for at least 10 years). While up to 23.8% of the patients of the whole cohort presented at least one abnormal cognitive test, we did not observe any significant difference in neurocognitive function between both groups. During the follow-up, 11 patients presented at least one new pituitary deficiency (P = 0.009 for thyroid-stimulating hormone deficiency with a higher rate in exposed patients), two presented a stroke (1 in each group), and one presented a meningioma (12 years after GK).
While GK exposes patients to a well-known risk of pituitary deficiency, it does not seem to induce long-term cognitive consequences in patients treated for acromegaly.