Posttraumatic hypopituitarism is of major public health importance because it is more prevalent than previously thought. The prevalence of hypopituitarism in children with traumatic brain injury is unknown. Most cases of posttraumatic hypopituitarism remain undiagnosed and untreated in the clinical practice, and it may contribute to the severe morbidity seen in patients with traumatic brain injury. In the acute phase of brain injury, the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency should not be missed. Determination of morning serum cortisol concentration is mandatory, because adrenal insufficiency can be life threatening. Morning serum cortisol lower than 200 nmol/L strongly suggests adrenal insufficiency. A complete hormonal investigation should be performed after one year of the trauma. Isolated growth hormone deficiency is the most common deficiency after traumatic brain injury. Sports-related chronic repetitive head trauma (because of boxing, kickboxing, football and ice hockey) may also result in hypopituitarism. Close co-operation between neurosurgeons, endocrinologists, rehabilitation physicians and representatives of other disciplines is important to provide better care for these patients.
- traumatic brain injury
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