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Pituitary. 2011 Jun;14(2):105-11. doi: 10.1007/s11102-010-0265-0.

Carotid atheromatic plaque is commonly associated with hypopituitary men.

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Endocrinology, Internal Medicine, Institute of Endocrine Research, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 250 Seongsanno Seodaemun-Gu, 120-752 Seoul, Korea.


Hypopituitarism increases the risks of many cardiovascular conditions and therefore, patients with this disease are more prone to cardiovascular disease. To our knowledge, there have been few studies on carotid artery plaque in male patients with hypopituitarism in assessing cardiovascular risks. The aim of this study was to specifically compare carotid artery plaque while examining other major cardiovascular risk factors between male patients with hypopituitarism and control subjects. Forty male patients aged 30-70 years with hypopituitarism and forty age, sex- matched control subjects were recruited at the Yonsei University Severance Hospital, Seoul, Korea. Carotid intima media thickness (IMT) and atheromatous plaque, anthropometry, lipid profile, and pituitary hormones were assessed. Atheromatous plaque in the carotid arteries was observed more frequently in patients with hypopituitarism than age- and sex-matched control subjects (59.5% vs. 2.5%, P<0.01) without differences of carotid IMTs. Patients with hypopituitarism also exhibited higher waist circumference, waist to hip ratio, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol than control subjects. In subgroup analysis in male patients with hypopituitarism including GH deficiency, lower testosterone levels were associated with higher waist circumference (r=0.446, P=0.033). In conclusion, hypopituitary males exhibit an increased incidence of carotid artery plaque without differences of carotid IMTs, central obesity and higher total cholesterol level. Lower testosterone levels were associated with central obesity- a strong component of a metabolic syndrome, and unsubstituted testosterone deficiency might be an important cardiovascular risk factor in patients with hypopituitarism.

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