Sheehan syndrome

Sheehan syndrome is a rare cause of pituitary apoplexy and hypopituitarism.

It only occurs in postpartum females who experience large volume haemorrhage and hypovolaemic shock, either during delivery or afterwards.

  • pituitary failure 1
    • may be silent and present with delayed hypopituitarism
    • agalactorrhoea
    • amenorrhoea
    • oligomenorrhoea
    • adrenal insufficiency
    • hyponatraemia (diabetes insipidus) in the acute setting of extreme hypovolaemia
    • hypothyroidism
    • growth hormone deficiency
  • optic chiasm compression
    • visual field loss
    • headache
    • ophthalmoplegia

Hypovolaemia secondary to postpartum haemorrhage leads to pituitary infarction and necrosis.

  • early
    • enlarged pituitary, with low T1, high T2 homogenous signal
    • ring enhancement
  • late
  • ring enhancement surrounding a low attenuation empty sella 2

It is named after Harold Leeming Sheehan (1900-1988).

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Article information

rID: 15010
Section: Syndromes
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Sheehan's syndrome

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Cases and figures

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    Case 1: pituitary apoplexy
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    Case 2: pituitary apoplexy
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    Case 3: pituitary apoplexy
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    Case 4: pituitary apoplexy
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