Undetected Pituitary Dysfunction in Traumatic Brain Injury

Red Spot on Brain X-Ray

Patients who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are commonly treated for symptoms like neurological impairment, psychological difficulties, and physical disability. Yet some other symptoms of TBI, such as neuroendocrine dysfunction (especially hypopituitarism) are relatively ignored in spite of their prevalence. To challenge this issue, a group of researchers in India studied the frequency of pituitary hormone deficiencies during the acute phase (immediately post-injury) of TBI.

The researchers assessed a population of 49 TBI patients in the first 24 hours after they sustained the injury. Each patient underwent basic blood testing to determine if TBI had affected their hormone levels. Strikingly, researchers found that 63.5% of the patients already demonstrated gonadotropin deficiency and 46.9% had low levels of insulin-like growth factors, indicating that hormone deficiency may begin almost immediately after a TBI is sustained. Cortisol levels, on the other hand, were found to increase in the acute phase; this increase was positively correlated with injury severity.

A substantial proportion of TBI patients may experience pituitary hormone deficiencies as early as 24 hours post-injury. Because some changes in hormone levels – particularly undetected increases in cortisol – can be life-threatening, hormone deficiency testing should be incorporated into TBI treatment during the acute stage of care.

If you or someone you love is currently suffering from a traumatic brain injury, contact the Scarlett Law Group. We may be able to help you obtain compensation if your TBI was sustained during an accident.

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