There is limited consensus regarding optimal glucocorticoid administration for pituitary surgery to prevent a potential adrenal crisis.
To assess the investigation and management of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis in patients undergoing trans‐sphenoidal hypophysectomy
in Australasia. Methods
A questionnaire was sent to one endocrinologist at each of 18 centres performing pituitary surgery in Australasia. Using
hypothetical case vignettes, respondents were asked to describe their investigation and management of the HPA axis for a patient with a: non‐functioning macroadenoma and intact HPA axis, non‐functioning macroadenoma and HPA
deficiency and growth hormone secreting microadenoma undergoing trans‐sphenoidal hypophysectomy. Results
Responses were received from all 18 centres. Seventeen centres assess the
HPA axis preoperatively by measuring early morning cortisol or a short synacthen test. Preoperative evaluation of the HPA status influenced glucocorticoid prescription by 10 centres, including 2/18 who would not prescribe perioperative glucocorticoids
for a patient with a macroadenoma and an intact HPA axis. Tumour size influenced glucocorticoid prescribing patterns at 7/18 centres who prescribe a lower dose or no glucocorticoids for a patient with a microadenoma. Choice of investigations for definitive postoperative
assessment of the HPA axis varied with eight centres requesting an insulin tolerance test, four centres a 250 µg short synacthen test and six centres requesting other tests. Conclusions
There is wide variability in the investigation and management of perioperative glucocorticoid requirements for patients undergoing pituitary surgery in Australasia. This may reflect limited evidence to define optimal management and that further well‐designed studies are needed.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 2012