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Eur J Pediatr. 1999 Feb;158(2):97-102.

Pituitary dysfunction, morbidity and mortality with congenital midline malformation of the cerebrum.

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Department of Endocrinology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children NHS Trust.


The purpose of this study was to review systematically a series of patients with congenital midline brain defects and pituitary dysfunction in early childhood and to quantitate the degree of dysfunction and clinical outcome. This study was a retrospective analysis of case notes of patients with pituitary dysfunction associated with either a midline cerebral anomaly and/or optic nerve hypoplasia. Forty patients were studied: 2 with semilobar holoprosencephaly, 2 with lobar holoprosencephaly, 18 with septo-optic dysplasia with an intact septum pellucidum, 7 with septo-optic dysplasia with an absent septum pellucidum, 7 with agenesis of the corpus callosum and 4 patients with isolated pituitary hypoplasia. An early age of diagnosis, feeding difficulties, neurodevelopmental disability, visual impairment and seizures were common occurrences. Despite disordered neuro-anatomy, most seizure disorders were caused by hypoglycaemia or hypernatraemia. Hypotensive/hypoglycaemic crises accounted for two out of three deaths within the study population. Most of patients had multiple pituitary hormone deficiency with growth hormone and adrenocorticotrophic hormone deficiency occurring most commonly. Unequivocal isolated hypothalamic dysfunction was an uncommon finding. In congenital midline brain malformation there is a spectrum of disordered neuro-anatomy associated with variable pituitary dysfunction. Clinical manifestations such as convulsions and developmental delay may be due to disordered metabolism and/or neuro-anatomy.


Children with congenital midline brain defects frequently manifest convulsions, neurodevelopmental disability and poor growth due to disordered metabolism and/or neuro-anatomy. Treating clinicians must be aware of the complex, dynamic neurological and metabolic nature of these patients and their potential for early demise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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