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Aoife Garrahy, Mark Sherlock, and Christopher J Thompson

Advances in the management of traumatic brain injury, subarachnoid haemorrhage and intracranial tumours have led to improved survival rates and an increased focus on quality of life of survivors. Endocrine sequelae of the acute brain insult and subsequent neurosurgery, peri-operative fluid administration and/or cranial irradiation are now well described. Unrecognised acute hypopituitarism, particularly ACTH/cortisol deficiency and diabetes insipidus, can be life threatening. Although hypopituitarism may be transient, up to 30% of survivors of TBI have chronic hypopituitarism, which can diminish quality of life and hamper rehabilitation. Patients who survive SAH may also develop hypopituitarism, though it is less common than after TBI. The growth hormone axis is most frequently affected. There is also accumulating evidence that survivors of intracranial malignancy, who have required cranial irradiation, may develop hypopituitarism. The time course of the development of hormone deficits is varied, and predictors of pituitary dysfunction are unreliable. Furthermore, diagnosis of GH and ACTH deficiency require dynamic testing that can be resource intensive. Thus the surveillance and management of neuroendocrine dysfunction in neurosurgical patients poses significant logistic challenges to endocrine services. However, diagnosis and management of pituitary dysfunction can be rewarding. Appropriate hormone replacement can improve quality of life, prevent complications such as muscle atrophy, infection and osteoporosis and improve engagement with physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

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Aoife Garrahy, Martin Cuesta, Brian Murphy, Michael W O’Reilly, William P Tormey, Mark Sherlock, and Chris J Thompson

Objective

Severe hyponatraemia (plasma sodium concentration, pNa <120 mmol/L) is reported to be associated with mortality rates as high as 50%. Although there are several international guidelines for the management of severe hyponatraemia, there are few data on the impact of treatment.

Design and methods

We have longitudinally reviewed rates of specialist input, active management of hyponatraemia, treatment outcomes and mortality rates in patients with severe hyponatraemia (pNa <120 mmol/L) in 2005, 2010 and 2015, and compared the recent mortality rate with that of patients with pNa 120–125 mmol/L.

Results

Between 2005 and 2010 there was a doubling in the rate of specialist referral (32 to 68%, P = 0.003) and an increase in the use of active management of hyponatraemia in patients with pNa <120 mmol/L (63 to 88%, P = 0.02), associated with a reduction in mortality from 51 to 15% (P < 0.001). The improved rates of intervention were maintained between 2010 and 2015, but there was no further reduction in mortality. When data from all three reviews were pooled, specialist consultation in patients with pNa <120 mmol/L was associated with a 91% reduction in mortality risk, RR 0.09 (95% CI: 0.03–0.26), P < 0.001. Log-rank testing on in-hospital survival in 2015 found no significant difference between patients with pNa <120 mmol/L and pNa 120–125 mmol/L (P = 0.56).

Conclusion

Dedicated specialist input and active management of severe hyponatraemia are associated with a reduction in mortality, to rates comparable with moderate hyponatraemia.

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Rosemary Dineen, Julie Martin-Grace, Khalid Mohamed Saeed Ahmed, Isolda Frizelle, Anjuli Gunness, Aoife Garrahy, Anne Marie Hannon, Michael W O’Reilly, Diarmuid Smith, John McDermott, Marie-Louise Healy, Amar Agha, Agnieszka Pazderska, James Gibney, Chris J Thompson, Lucy-Ann Behan, and Mark Sherlock

Background

Adrenal insufficiency (AI) is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and reduced quality of life (QoL). Optimum glucocorticoid (GC) dosing and timing are crucial in the treatment of AI, yet the natural circadian secretion of cortisol is difficult to mimic. The once-daily dual-release hydrocortisone (DR-HC) preparation (Plenadren®), offers a more physiological cortisol profile and may address unmet needs.

Methods

An investigator-initiated, prospective, cross-over study in patients with AI. Following baseline assessment of cardiometabolic risk factors and QoL, patients switched from their usual hydrocortisone regimen to a once-daily dose equivalent of DR-HC and were reassessed after 12 weeks of treatment.

Results

Fifty-one patients (21 PAI/30 SAI) completed the study. Mean age was 41.6 years (s.d. 13), and 58% (n = 30) were male. The median daily HC dose before study entry was 20 mg (IQR 15–20 mg). After 3 months on DR-HC, the mean SBP decreased by 5.7 mmHg, P = 0.0019 and DBP decreased by 4.5 mmHg, P = 0.0011. There was also a significant reduction in mean body weight (−1.23 kg, P = 0.006) and BMI (−0.3 kg/m2, P = 0.003). In a sub-analysis, there was a greater reduction in SBP observed in patients with SAI when compared to PAI post-DR-HC. Patients reported significant improvements in QoL using three validated QoL questionnaires, with a greater improvement in PAI.

Conclusion

Dual-release hydrocortisone decreases BP, weight and BMI compared with conventional HC treatment, even at physiological GC replacement doses. Additionally, DR-HC confers significant improvements in QoL compared to immediate-release HC, particularly in patients with PAI, which is also reflected in the patient preference for DR-HC.