Monday, June 21, 2010

Peri-operative management of Cushing’s disease

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Dima AbdelMannan1, Warren R. Selman2  and Baha M. Arafah1, 3 Contact Information
(1)      Division of Clinical and Molecular Endocrinology, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Medical Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA
(2)      Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case Medical Center, and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA
(3)      Division of Endocrinology, University Hospitals/ Case Medical Center, and Case Western Reserve University, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

Published online: 17 June 2010

Management of patients with ACTH producing pituitary adenoma remains to be challenging. Removal of the pituitary adenoma through transsphenoidal surgery is the main stay of treatment.

Complete resection of the adenoma is followed by the development of ACTH deficiency since the normal corticotrophs are suppressed by the pre-existing hypercortisolemia. The concern for ACTH deficiency has led many centers to advocate the use glucocorticoids before, during and after surgery. We provide evidence that such coverage with glucocorticoids is unnecessary until clinical or biochemical documentation of need is established. Given that patients are closely monitored, they are immediately treated with glucocorticoids once they exhibit any clinical and/or biochemical evidence of adrenal insufficiency.

Defining remission in the immediate postoperative period has been rather difficult despite using different biochemical markers. Serum cortisol continues to be the best determinant of disease activity after surgical adenomectomy. However it needs to be interpreted with caution as a biochemical marker of remission in patients given glucocorticoids during and after surgery. Other biochemical markers are also used in the peri-operative period to determine the possibility of remission. These include the dexamethasone suppression test, CRH stimulation without dexamethasone, urinary free cortisol measurements, desmopressin stimulation test, the determination of salivary cortisol and / or plasma ACTH concentrations. Each test has its own advantages and limitations. The simplest and most informative approach is to measure serum cortisol levels repeatedly after surgery without the administration of exogenous glucocorticoids. Low serum cortisol levels (less than 2 ug/dL) in the peri-operative period are highly indicative of surgical success and a high likelihood for clinical remission. Higher serum cortisol levels require careful interpretation and further planning and discussions between the patient and the management team.

Keywords  Cushing’s disease - Cushing’s syndrome - Hypercortisolism - ACTH - Cortisol - Adrenal insufficiency - Peri-operative management - Glucocorticoids - Pituitary adenoma - Transsphenoidal surgery - Pituitary adenomectomy

Contact Information     Baha M. Arafah


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